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Source: IranWire

Sep 19, 2023

Russia's DM Visits Iran amid Growing Military Ties

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu arrived in Tehran on September 19 for talks with top Iranian officials on defense cooperation and regional developments, Iran’s media reported.

Shoigu traveled to Iran with a high-level military delegation after an official invitation by the chief of staff of Iran's armed forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri in June, state-run Press TV reported.

Tehran and Moscow have deepened their bilateral ties, particularly in the military sphere, since the imposition of Western sanctions on Russia over its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The European Union, the United States, the UK and other countries have also issued several rounds of sanctions against the Islamic Republic in recent months over its crackdown on dissent and its supply of drones to Russia for its war effort in Ukraine. 

Tehran has acknowledged sending drones to Russia but claimed that the deliveries took place before Russia's invasion in Ukraine, despite widespread evidence to the contrary. 

Earlier this month, Iranian media reported that the country’s air force has received a batch of Russian-made Yak-130 combat trainer jets.

Shoigu’s visit to Tehran also comes amid rising tensions around Azerbaijan’s mainly ethnic Armenian breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said on September 19 it had launched an "anti-terrorist operation" in Nagorno-Karabakh after weeks of bloody clashes and a blockade of the Armenia-backed separatist region.

Iran borders both Azerbaijan and Armenia, and has called upon Baku and Yerevan to uphold a 2020 ceasefire backed by Russia.

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