The co-operation that Iran and Russia share in the defence area is growing firmer with time. Having already supplied the ‘S-300’, a very advanced air defence system to Iran, Russia, it is believed, plans to guide Iran about ‘electronic’ warfare too. In a bilateral meeting the Defence Ministers of both the countries agreed to step up co-operation for defence purposes at many levels.
The Defence Minister of Iran, ‘Hossein Dehghan’, during his recent visit to Russia, met with his Russian counterpart ‘Sergey Shoygu’ following which Mr. Dehghan stated that the two countries had entered into a few important pacts. Boosting military co-operation between Iran and Russia apart from buying advanced technology from Russia were on the discussion agenda. This was the first meeting between the two defence ministers after the UN and the USA lifted sanctions from Iran.
If terrorism and all the problems stemming from it are to be obliterated, firm military co-operation between Russia and Iran are a necessity and were this to materialize, stability and security in the world would follow too, claimed Dehghan. Responding positively to the statement, the Russian Defence Minister, Shoygu asserted that Russia was prepared to bolster military co-operation with Iran in order to battle terrorism. He trusted that the talks would strengthen friendly and co-operative ties between the two countries.
Although the Iranian Defence Minister affirmed that Iran had struck new deals with Russia, he avoided any details. However, according to Alexander Fomin, Chief of the ‘Russian Federation Service for Military Technical Co-operation’, in the talks, both the nations discussed the purchase of sophisticated arms and defence equipment. Russia on its part, has agreed that the supply of advanced weaponry to Iran will include permitted equipment and will respect the ban list. Fomin also added that after having supplied the S-300, a surface to air missile system to Iran, Russia plans to supply the Electronic Warfare System to Iran.
The Electronic Warfare System will certainly enhance the defence capacities of Iran and will prove especially significant considering Israel’s threat to Iran’s nuclear projects. Apart from the purchase of other weaponry, Russia’s willingness to make T-90 tanks in Iran was a point of discussion.
After the success of Iran’s deal with the USA, sanctions were lifted off Iran and taking full advantage of the fact, Iran has now set about speedily developing its defence ties with Russia and other nations. However, discomposed at this, Israel, the USA and even Saudi Arabia could likely react strongly. Meanwhile the common interests that Russia and Iran share as regards the conflict in Syria also lend a particularly special significance to the military co-operation of the two countries.
Last November, on his visit to Iran, the Russian President ignoring political protocol, headed straight for a meet with Ayatollah Khameini, the Supreme leader and cleric of Iran instead of meeting President Rouhani. Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor and close associate of Khameini, allegedly visited Russia and had low key meetings with Putin, say news agencies.
Little wonder then, that Ayatollah Khameini, Iran’s topmost political entity keeps warning the political leadership of his country that the USA cannot be consistently trusted. At the same time, following the lifting of sanctions by the USA, the Iranian President Rouhani is trying to improve relations with western nations including the USA. But Khameini alleges that the sanctions on Iran were lifted only ‘on paper’.