Russia, Iran mull joint military drills under defense cooperation deal

Iran is interested in implementing proposals by the Russian military to conduct joint military exercises, to strengthen cooperation in ensuring security in the Caspian region and to expand the exchange of military delegations, the Russian ambassador to Iran told RIA Novosti on Thursday.
MOSCOW, January 22 (Sputnik) – Iran is interested in implementing proposals by the Russian military to conduct joint exercises, strengthen cooperation in ensuring security in the Caspian region and to expand the exchange of military delegations, the Russian ambassador to Iran told RIA Novosti on Thursday.

Russia and Iran signed on Tuesday an intergovernmental agreement on military cooperation during the visit of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to Tehran.

“The sides discussed ways to expand bilateral military cooperation. The Iranian side expressed interest in the implementation of proposals by the Russian Defense Ministry on joint military drills, Iran’s participation in various international military competitions, strengthening of cooperation in safeguarding security in the Caspian Sea, and expansion of exchange visits by [military] delegations,” Levan Dzhagaryan said commenting on the results of Shoigu’s visit.

Dzhagaryan said that both Moscow and Tehran acknowledge they share similar views “on the majority of issues of global and regional security, which creates favorable conditions for the expansion of the cooperation on crisis situations settlement.”

According to the Russian diplomat, Tehran expressed an interest in helping Moscow strengthen international cooperation under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

“Iranian political and military leadership believe that the regions’ states should take full responsibility for ensuring security in the Near and Middle East, Central Asia and the Trans-Caucasus. Any interference into this process by the United States and its allies, made under the pretext of fighting terrorism, leads, in fact, to the emergence of more hotbeds of instability,” Dzhagaryan stressed.

On Tuesday, after his meeting with Shoigu, Iranian Defense and Armed Forces Logistics Minister Hossein Dehghan said that Moscow and Tehran agreed to counter external meddling in regional affairs. The minister said US foreign policy was among the main reasons why the situation in the region had worsened.

Relations between Moscow and Tehran are currently at their highest level and should remain strong throughout 2015, Russian Ambassador to Iran Levan Dzhagaryan said Thursday.

“Relations between Russia and Iran are currently at their highest level. Confirmation of this comes from the results of last year which was marked by considerable activity in bilateral contacts in all areas,” Dzhagaryan told RIA Novosti in an interview.

The ambassador pointed out that last year saw numerous meetings at various levels between the countries, including parliamentary meetings, security councils and meetings between their foreign affairs ministries.

“We expect this trend to continue this year,” Dzhagaryan added.

On Tuesday, the defense ministers of Iran and Russia signed major deals on military and military-technical cooperation, also agreeing to fight regional security threats together.

Iran backed Russia after Moscow was subjected to several waves of Western economic sanctions in 2014 over its alleged interference in the Ukrainian conflict. During his visit to Moscow in August 2014, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohhaman Javad Zarif joined the Kremlin in denouncing anti-Russia sanctions as an “illegal means of applying pressure and an intrusion on policy from the outside.”

In November 2014, Moscow and Tehran inked a deal for the construction of two nuclear reactors in Iran and the option for another six. Russia will also provide nuclear fuel for the reactors.

By Sputnik News


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