Iran, China and Russia began joint naval drills on Friday in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman, in what Moscow said was an unprecedented exercise in naval cooperation and training.

"The message of this exercise is peace, friendship and lasting security through cooperation and unity... and its result will be to show that Iran cannot be isolated," Iranian flotilla admiral Gholamreza Tahani said on state television.

The broadcaster said the drills included rescuing ships on fire or vessels under attack by pirates and shooting exercises.

President Donald Trump last year pulled the United States out of Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with six nations and re-imposed sanctions on the country..

China said on Thursday it was sending a guided missile destroyer to the four-day drills, which it called a "normal military exchange" between the three armed forces.

"It is not necessarily connected with the regional situation," a Chinese defense ministry spokesman said.

China has close diplomatic, trade and energy ties with Iran, which has friendly ties with Russia.

Source: National News Agency