Iran looking for ‘big jump’ in Russia relations with Moscow talks

October 9, 2021 - 22:34

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on Tuesday that the Islamic Republic is looking for a “big jump in relations” with the Russian Federation.

Amir Abdollahian made the remarks before his talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Wednesday.

After touching down in Moscow on Tuesday, Amir Abdollahian said the government of President Ebrahim Raisi is ready to quickly expand ties with Russia based on a foreign policy that seeks the same across the region.

“This doesn’t mean that we’ll be dependent on China and Russia, but from a strategic point of view, we’ll use existing capacities to further the interests of both nations,” Amir Abdollahian said, Al Jazeera reported.

In addition to bilateral ties, the two officials discussed the situation in Afghanistan and tensions in the South Caucasus in the meeting on Wednesday.

The Iranian Army and the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) have recently held military drills close to its northwestern borders with the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan and Turkey, in response, launched a joint military drill starting on Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian also criticized Azerbaijan's dealings with Israel.
"We certainly will not tolerate geopolitical change and map change in the Caucasus, and we have serious concerns about the presence of terrorists and Zionists in this region," he said.

Baku has hinged a significant portion of its defense policy on Israeli technologies such as drones. Azerbaijan relied heavily on these technologies in its war with Armenia last year when it successfully reclaimed the previously disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, known to Armenians as Artsakh.

Amir Abdollahian said that Iran's drill had been a one-off event and had been announced beforehand through diplomatic channels.
"This maneuver was carried out inside Iran by the Iranian Armed Forces and its message was peace, friendship and security in the region," Mehr quoted Amir Abdollahian as saying.

Before his meeting with Lavrov, Amir Abdollahian said Iran expects Russia “to be sensitive about any potential changes in borders across the region, and be sensitive about the presence of terrorists and the movements of the Zionist regime that threatens regional peace and stability”.
The meeting comes as world powers, party to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, expect Raisi’s administration to announce when Iran will return to Vienna to resume talks on restoring the accord that the United States unilaterally abandoned in 2018.
Amir Abdollahian has said the new Iranian administration is still reviewing the records of six rounds of talks in Vienna that concluded on July 20. However, Amir Abdollahian repeated a demand for the U.S. to unblock at least some foreign assets of the Iranian government which sanctions have targeted.

Iran has said it will return to the negotiating table “very soon” without providing an exact date.
Russia’s top negotiator in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, said in a tweet on Wednesday that Russia has no reason to believe Tehran is unwilling to return to the talks.
“The return to the negotiating table is a matter of time, not in a distant future,” he wrote.

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