US to Urge Moscow to Reverse Resumption of Military Cooperation with Iran
The United States will urge Moscow to reverse its decision to resume military cooperation with Iran at a meeting of US-Russian experts in Moscow Wednesday, a US embassy official said Tuesday.
Asked by AFP if the US delegation would press Russia to stand by a bilateral accord banning arms sales to Iran, the official replied: "Yes.
"We need to find out where each side's position is currently and where do we go from here with this," he added.
Russia announced last month its intention to renew arms negotiations with Tehran, effectively scrapping a five-year-old agreement with Washington that banned conventional arms sales to Iran.
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov later brushed aside a US warning that Moscow could face economic sanctions if it went ahead with supplying military hardware to Iran.
A top Pentagon general will also visit Moscow next week to quiz senior Russian defense ministry officials about their intention to resume weapons exports to Iran, said the US spokesman, who asked to remain anonymous.
US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Henry H. Shelton will be in Moscow on December 11-13, he added.
Under the 1995 agreement, Russia agreed to finish all scheduled exports of tanks and other battlefield weapons to Iran by December 31, 1999, and not to enter into new contracts.
The renewal of military cooperation with Iran will be "very lucrative" for Moscow, with volume reaching seven billion dollars over the next few years, the head of Russia's parliamentary commission on defense, Andrei Nikolayev, said Monday.
Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev is due to pay an official visit to Iran from December 27 to 29, according to Russian military sources – MOSCOW (AFP)
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