Russian Defense Minister to Tour Iran Military Installations
Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev will be visiting several Iranian military installations during his three-day visit to Iran next week, an Iranian defense ministry spokesman said Saturday.
"Outside of talks with top officials from the Islamic republic, Mr Sergeyev will visit several military centers," Kayvan Khosravi said, cited by the state IRNA news agency.
"The purpose of the visit is to examine ways of developing and increasing Iran-Russian cooperation at the regional and international level," he said.
Russian officials said Friday that Sergeyev would not sign any bilateral agreements with Iran during his trip, which comes amid US objections to growing military cooperation between the two nations.
Moscow in November announced it was scrapping a five-year-old agreement with Washington ending conventional arms sales to Iran, a decision that prompted a White House warning that trade ties could suffer as a result.
Leonid Ivashov, head of foreign affairs in the Russian defense ministry, said Sergeyev's visit falls within all international commitments to non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
"High on the talks' agenda is the development of military cooperation, a discussion of ways to settle the situation in Afghanistan and the problems of the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," he said.
Moscow and Tehran are among the most outspoken opponents of the Taliban Islamic militia, which now controls almost all of Afghanistan after ousting President Burhanuddin Rabbani in 1996.
Sergeyev is making the first Iran visit by a Russian defense minister since the 1979 Islamic revolution -- TEHRAN (AFP)
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