Russia observes intel law, regional security in defense cooperation with Iran: FM Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has defended his country’s defense ties with Iran, saying Moscow respects international law and gives priority to regional peace in its military cooperation with Tehran.

Lavrov made the remarks in an interview with Sputnik on Tuesday in response to a question whether Moscow and Tehran were planning to boost defense cooperation past the expiry of a UN arms embargo on Iran.

“In its military cooperation with Iran, which, undoubtedly, has the right to secure its defense, Russia strictly observes its international commitments and prioritizes the regional stability and security,” the top Russian diplomat said.

On October 18, a UN Security Council arms embargo against Tehran expired, despite the US attempts to keep the ban in place, under the terms of Resolution 2231 that endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major world countries.

Referring to the removal of the ban, Lavrov said Iran and Russia no longer face any legal constraints, including those posed by the UN Security Council, in their military cooperation.

He emphasized that all policies pertaining to Russia’s military cooperation are in accordance with its laws on export and oversight, which he said were among the strictest ones in the world.

When the arms ban against Iran expired, Russia said it would continue military and technical cooperation with Iran, saying Moscow was not afraid of the US threat of sanctions over any arms trade with Iran.

“Russia is developing multi-aspect cooperation with Iran and cooperation in the military-technical sphere will proceed depending on needs of the parties and mutual readiness to such cooperation in a calm fashion,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said back then.

The administration of outgoing US President Donald Trump was dealt an embarrassing blow on August 14 as it failed to renew the arms embargo on Iran through a resolution at the Security Council.

During the 15-member Council vote, Washington received support only from the Dominican Republic for its anti-Iran resolution, leaving it far short of the minimum nine ‘yes’ votes required for adoption.

Trump, a hawkish critic of the Iran nuclear deal, unilaterally withdrew Washington from the agreement in May 2018 and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic to strangle its economy in defiance of global criticism.