Iran has reached an agreement on arms purchases from Russia, according to media reports.
“Chief of the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Mohammad Hossein Bagheri said [the contracts had been concluded] at a meeting with Russian Navy Deputy Commander-in-Chief Vice Admiral Vladimir Kasatonov in St. Petersburg on Wednesday,” the Russian News Agency (TASS) reported.
“The conclusion of arms agreements and their implementation in the near future will considerably deepen our relationships,” the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting corporation quoted the Iranian military chief as saying.
This is a new milestone in Iran-Russia relations.
“The chief of the Iranian General Staff also visited the Russian Navy’s headquarters in St. Petersburg and military facilities in Kronshtadt,” IRIB reported. Bagheri is in Russia for a four-day visit and has met with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and held talks with Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov, the report said.
Iran desperately needs to modernize its army, navy and air force. It recently sent ships around Africa, bypassing the Suez Canal to reach Russia.
Meanwhile, Moscow, which backs the Syrian regime, has complained about this week’s terrorist attack in Damascus. In recent days, the Syrian regime has made progress in Gulf ties and with other networking in the Middle East.
Iran has agreed to more cooperation with Russia, according to Iranian media reports. This is important because there has already been one joint naval drill with Russia and China; now, there could be more.
Iran’s navy needs new ships and submarines. It has suffered many setbacks recently, including one ship that caught fire and sank.
It remains to be seen if the recent discussions in Moscow will lead to major deals. Iran doesn’t have a lot of cash, and Russia, which is dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, is busy trying to integrate a new defense plan with Belarus and also confront NATO.