Iran and China joint naval drill
Chinese and Russian naval vessels seen during a Joint Sea 2014 naval exercise in the East China Sea, outside Shanghai. China Daily via Reuters

Chinese and Iranian warships are taking part in an unprecedented joint naval exercise in the Persian Gulf.

The Chinese fleet, which is docked in the southern Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas, includes a warship and a destroyer, which were said to be on their way back from the Gulf of Aden.

"Discussing and studying the two countries' naval relief and rescue operations and drills, confronting sea incidents and accidents and gaining the necessary technical preparedness are among the actions to be practised with the Chinese army forces," commander of Iran's first naval zone Admiral Amir Hossein Azad told Iran's semi-official Fars news agency.

"The voyage of the Chinese army's fleet of warships for the first time in the Persian Gulf waters is aimed at joint preparation of Iran and China," he continued, "for establishing peace, stability, tranquillity and multilateral and mutual cooperation."

The drill comes just a few days after the Iranian navy announced that they had foiled a pirate attack on the Chinese container ship Xin Lian Yun Gang in the Gulf of Aden.

The Chinese vessel was sailing from Saudi Arabia to Singapore when the incident took place.