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Iran Says It Will Hold Naval Drill With Russia, China ‘Soon’

Arsalan Shahla

(Bloomberg) -- Iran said it will stage a naval drill with Russia and China in international waters after the U.S. announced plans to send troops to the Middle East, according to Tasnim, a semi-official news agency.

“The joint drill will be held in the north of the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman,” Tasnim said, citing Ghadir Nezami, head of international affairs and defense diplomacy at Iran’s General Staff of the Armed Forces. “We have made no plan whatsoever to hold such a drill in the Persian Gulf.”

The joint exercise will be the first by Iran, China and Russia in the Indian Ocean, Tasnim reported.

The announcement comes less than 24 hours after the U.S. said it would send a “moderate” number of American troops to the region and additional missile defense capabilities to Saudi Arabia in response to last week’s strikes on the kingdom’s oil facilities.

Tensions in the Persian Gulf skyrocketed after the attack, with the U.S. blaming Iran for the assault, and Iran insisting it wasn’t responsible and warning that retaliatory strikes on its soil would lead to “all-out war.” The U.S. on Friday slapped “the highest sanctions ever imposed” on Iran’s central bank and sovereign wealth fund.

The attacks in Saudi Arabia were claimed by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who are battling the government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, which is backed by the Saudis.

To contact the reporter on this story: Arsalan Shahla in Dubai at ashahla@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dana El Baltaji at delbaltaji@bloomberg.net, Shamim Adam

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