On Tuesday, Iranian Defense minister Hossein Deghan met with both Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Details of the meetings were not immediately provided by the Kremlin Press Office.
The general reason for Dehghan’s visit to Russia, however, is known. As Iran’s senior defense official, Mr. Dehghan is in Moscow as part of a further expansion of military cooperation between his country and Russia. The primary objective of this visit is to finalize an arms purchase agreement with Russia on behalf of Tehran, a task accomplished on the first day of the minister’s two day visit. The expansion of military purchases is said to be focused on air power, an area in which Iran’s current military is lacking. Recently, a long-pending sale of Russian S-300 anti-aircraft systems that had been blocked by international sanctions removed after Iran’s signing of its nuclear agreement was completed, giving Iran a greater ability to defend its own airspace. Now, according to reports from an anonymous Russian source, Iran is already interested in upgrading these capabilities with the greatly improved S-400 system and a large contingent of military aircraft to complete its air power. All told, the purchase agreement struck on Monday totaled roughly $8 billion in new Russian military equipment.
The new deal is also accompanied by negotiations for Iran to purchase a new fleet of civilian airplanes for commercial usage. The two countries have continued to make such agreements as Iran gradually opens its economy to foreign trade and investment now that the sanctions against it have been formally dropped. Military cooperation has also been a component of these economic deals, as both nations are currently engaged in the Syrian Civil War on the side of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
By Mohammad Hasanzadeh [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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