3 September ITAR TASS

Russia to step up military cooperation with Iran, says deputy premier


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Military cooperation between Russia and Iran has good prospects and does not infringe upon the interests of other countries.

It was made public in Moscow that the talks between the Russian side and Iranian Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani who will come to Moscow on a visit, will centre on boosting military cooperation and opening of new possibilities to implement mutually advantageous and long-term projects to update the Iranian armed forces.

Russia supplied Iran with armour, diesel submarines and anti-tank mines on the basis of agreements, concluded late in the 1980s and early in the 1990s.

To lend transparency to bilateral relations, Russia and Iran reached an understanding at talks in Teheran in October 1996 to set up a joint Russian-Iranian committee on disarmament and control over various types of weapons.

In January 1998, the Russian government issued a decision to intensify control over export of technologies of duel designation. The sides approved the establishment of the Russian-Iranian working group on export control in July of the same year.

On November 3, 2000, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov notified the U.S. administration that starting from December 1, 2000, Russia withdraws from the regime of confidential understandings, reached between Russia and the United States in 1995 in the framework of the Gore-Chernomyrdin commission.

These understandings limited Russia's possibilities to fulfill military contracts with Iran, as a result of which the Russian Federation lost millions of dollars.

Former Russian Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev made an official visit to Iran on December 26-28, 2000.

At meetings between the Russian delegation and the Iranian leadership, the sides spelled out principles of cooperation: to render assistance in creation of a comprehensive air defence system, updating of the fleet of Russian-made warplanes and overhaul of weapons. The possible volume of the Iranian arms market is estimated at two billion U.S. dollars.

The official visit by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami to Russia between March 12 and 15, 2001 raised bilateral relations to a higher level.

President Vladimir Putin, speaking with the Iranian president at a meeting in the Kremlin, confirmed the intention of Russia to continue military cooperation without overstepping the framework of its international obligations.

According to the Russian leader, Iranian orders for Russian weapons deal with defensive arms. The joint communique on the results of the visit emphasised that cooperation between Russia and Iran in the military sphere is not spearheaded against third countries and pursues aims of security and stability in the region.

Iran placed fourth in 2000 after China, India and the UAE in the volume of purchases of Russian weaponry

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