China-Iran Naval Alliance

China-Iran  Naval Alliance
China-Iran  Naval Alliance

A newspaper says the latest naval exchanges between Iran and China as "the start of a budding naval alliance" stretching from the Pacific to the Persian Gulf.

According to an article entitled "Iran and China deepen a ‘blue water’ friendship" by Brian Murphy that appeared on the website of the Washington Post on Wednesday "Iranian and Chinese commanders last week announced plans for greater maritime cooperation that could indicate ambitions on both sides to expanding the reach of their warships into faraway seas and new ports of call."

"For China, the Iranian naval alliance offers a convenient way-station for Beijing’s widening outreach in Africa, and another bonding moment in the largely transactional ties between China and Iran. China needs Iran’s oil and gas, and Iran is happy to oblige to help offset western-led sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear program," writes Murphy.

  Checking US Influence?

He says, "A deepening Chinese-Iranian naval partnership also could be an extra win for Tehran as Chinese expertise could help fast-track some of Iran's goals."

"Both Iran and China have made it clear they seek to expand their so-called 'blue water' navies."

Murphy also commented, "China is a rising naval power and hopes one day to muscle out the US Navy presence in Asia. Iran seeks to use its much more modest navy to remind Washington its influence does not extend into international waters."

China and Iran announced last week that they are seeking closer defense ties with each other.

Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan said during a meeting with the Iranian navy commander that Beijing wants to have closer military ties with Iran, expressing Beijing's readiness to promote "pragmatic cooperation" with Tehran.  

"The two armed forces (of Iran and China) have seen good cooperation on mutual visits, personnel training, and other fields in recent years," China’s official news agency Xinhua quoted Chang as saying. The Chinese defense minister told the visiting navy commander, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, "Exchanges between the two navies have been fruitful and their warships have paid successful visits to each other."

Sayyari was in China with the aim of exploring ways of promoting Sino-Iran defense cooperation. The navy commander toured the Shanghai naval base and held talks with senior Chinese naval officials. In recent years, Iranian naval forces have sought to expand maritime relations and exchange of expertise with Tehran’s regional allies including Russia and China. In September, a Chinese fleet of warships anchored in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas and conducted joint naval exercises. The visit was for the first time ever and came shortly after Iran’s naval forces thwarted an attack by pirates on a Chinese container ship in the Gulf of Aden.

Two Russian warships docked at the Caspian Sea port of Anzali in northern Iran this month. A year earlier two vessels of the Iranian navy made a port call to the Russian city of Astrakhan.

Iranian naval forces and fleets have also increased their presence in international waters as part of missions to protect naval routes and provide security for merchant vessels and tankers against sea piracy.