Armed Caspian becomes dangerous

At the end of September – early October, Russia and Iran will carry out joint military drills in the Caspian Sea to train maritime security-enforcement operations. Iranian military attaché to Moscow Col. Suleiman Adeli said: “Iran and Russia want Caspian states to maintain maritime security without interference of foreign states. They consider presence of foreigners a source of tensions and conflict.”

When they mention “foreign interference”, they usually keep the US in mind. Although, it is not only the US that has political, military-strategic and economic interests in the region. The EU and China have own palates. The reason why Caspian states arm themselves is terrorism, extremism, separatism and expansionism of the West. These are the new threats of the Caspian Sea. The US strategy in the Middle East remains a sensitive issue for the Caspian Sea, but the steps made in the Middle East to disrupt the balance of power by pressing on Syria may cause problems for all Caspian and Trans-Caucasus states. Continue reading

New Wave of Militarization in the Caspian

On March 17, the Iranian navy launched a new Jamaran-2 destroyer in the Caspian Sea. The Iranian establishment, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi and Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Hassan Firuzabadi, attended the ceremony. This destroyer was developed and constructed domestically by Iranian experts and specialists. Earlier, a Jamaran-1 destroyer was launched in the Persian Gulf. The 1,420-ton destroyer, which is part of the 16th fleet of Iranian warships, is equipped with modern radars and electronic warfare capabilities. The Jamaran-2 has a top speed of up to 30 knots and a helipad. The destroyer features highly advanced anti-aircraft, anti-surface and anti-subsurface systems. The vessel has also been equipped with torpedoes and naval cannons (Trend, March 17). Conspicuously, the Iranian destroyer was launched exactly on the eve of the start of bilateral talks between Azerbaijan and Russia on the Caspian Sea delimitation issues. On March 18, Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Khalaf Khalafov met with Igor Bratchikov, the special envoy of the Russian foreign ministry. The sides discussed issues of mutual cooperation in the Caspian, including the drafting of a convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea and many others (Zerkalo, March 18). Continue reading