Iranian military chief, Russian defense minister push for military, defense cooperation

October 19, 2021 - 22:10

TEHRAN – Mohammad Bagheri, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Iran, and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in a meeting in Moscow on Tuesday insisted on the need to strengthen military and defense cooperation between the two countries.

The two top military officials also assessed the level of mutual interaction, especially in military field, as positive and pushed for stronger cooperation.

The two sides also expressed their interests to upgrade the level of cooperation in areas of mutual interest.

The two top commanders also held talks over an agreement that is going to be signed between the armed forces of the two countries.

The Iranian general also met on Monday his Russian counterpart, Valery Gerasimov. During the meeting, Bagheri discussed two main things: Arms deals with Russia and regional developments, especially Afghanistan. 

For his part, the Russian chief of staff said, “Iran is a close partner of Russia and the relations between the two countries will keep developing in a friendly atmosphere.”

He also said bilateral talks will continue in the future.

Bagheri’s visit to Russia took place immediately after his travel to Pakistan, where the two countries agreed to hold joint naval exercises.

Upon his arrival in Moscow on Sunday, General Bagheri said he will pursue the implementation of an arms deal including purchase of fighter jets, training jets, and combat helicopters from Russia. 

During a meeting with Iranian experts at the Iranian embassy in Moscow, the senior general pointed out that the deal had been signed in the aftermath of the lifting of a UN arms embargo on Iran. 

Based on UN Security Council Resolution 2231, the arms embargo against Iran ended in October 2020.

The military chief also said Iran and Russia have been cooperating in the fields of military training, military competitions, exchange of experiences, defense industry, and joint cooperation for a full security in Syria. 

Bagheri also said his was visiting Russia as a new administration has come to power in Tehran, which its priority is promoting ties with Eastern countries.

"This trip is taking place at the beginning of the thirteenth administration, and Mr. Raisi's administration has a specific look to the East and Asian countries, and also the membership of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Shanghai Pact is an important event, and certainly the cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Russia will be further developed in this regard," Bagheri stated, according to IRNA.

"We are cooperating with the Armed Forces of Russia, and in recent years this cooperation has expanded. At this juncture, my visit is at the invitation of the Russian minister of defense. In addition to the bilateral military issues that we have and should pursue, the issue of Afghanistan is one of the issues that will be specifically discussed by the two sides," Baqeri stated. 

General Bagheri also said developments in Afghanistan would definitely affect the regional countries, including Iran, the Russian Federation and other countries.

Russia will hold a conference in Afghanistan on Wednesday, October 20. Russia has invited the Taliban to attend the meeting. Iran is also set to hold a meeting of the foreign ministers of the countries bordering Afghanistan. 

According to Xinhua, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) on Monday held its joint military drills at the Kharbmaidon training ground in Tajikistan near the border with Afghanistan.

Emomali Sobirzoda, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Tajikistan, said the situation in the region remains difficult and tends to worsen.

The readiness of collective security forces to perform tasks, he said, is becoming more important and relevant.

The three operations focus on logistics, intelligence, and armed fighting in border conflicts, as well as terrorism responses.

Over 4,000 servicemen from CSTO member states took part in the exercises, which will end on Oct. 23.

The CSTO is a Russia-led military alliance created in 1992, grouping the six former Soviet republics of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan

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