Iranian soldiers take part in "National Persian Gulf Day" in the Strait of Hormuz in April 2019. Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images

China, Russia and Iran announced they will hold joint naval drills in the Gulf of Oman from Dec. 27 to 30, AFP reports.

Why it matters: The drills come after the U.S. withdrew from a key international nuclear deal with Iran — and as it faces down geopolitical threats from both Russia and China, especially after the end of a key Cold War missile treaty.

What they're saying: A senior Iranian armed forces spokesman said the drills would "stabilize security" and increase "international commerce security in the region."

  • Chinese defense ministry spokesman Wu Qian added that the naval drills would "deepen exchange and cooperation between the navies of the three countries."

Worth noting: The Gulf of Oman is only a short distance away from the Strait of Hormuz, which has been a site of contention over the passage of oil tankers between Iran and some Western nations.

Go deeper: Security agencies warn Russia, China, Iran aim to interfere in 2020 election

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