The Russian ambassador to Iran says there is no obstacle in closer Moscow-Tehran cooperation in the field of armaments as a UN arms embargo on Iran was lifted.

In an interview with Russian daily Izvestia on Wednesday, Levan Dzhagaryan (Jagaryan) claimed that Tehran buys weapons from the Russian Federation only for defensive purposes, denying reports that the Islamic Republic is engaged in destabilizing activities in the region.

The statement contradicted numerous reports and accusations by UN experts, the United States and its regional allies that have insisted Iran arms Yemen's Houthi forces and militant groups in the region.

“After the arms embargo against Iran was removed, there are no more obstacles to the development of Russian-Iranian cooperation in this important and very sensitive area”, he said.

Arms trade sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council expired in October 2020, when the United States failed to garner support among permanent members to extend it.

Djagaryan emphasized that “Iran purchases weapons exclusively for defensive purposes, contrary to the assertions of some countries in the region that Iran is allegedly engaged in subversive activities in the region. I refute it.”

He also hailed the military-technical cooperation with Iran, saying, “At one time [in 2016], we supplied the S-300 anti-missile defense systems.”

Rejecting reports about Iran sending weapons -- including anti-aircraft missile launchers -- for the Russian troops to use in the invasion of Ukraine, he said that “the British media, and not only the British media, is a well-known fake news factory... This is not the first time, and I don't think it will be the last”.

Restoring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

He said Russia made every effort to return the deal as it was before the Trump administration “illegally” withdrew from it in May 2018.

“There is a pause in Vienna now, negotiations are not underway yet, because basically the parameters of the upcoming deal have already been agreed, but there are a number of important issues that Iran and the United States need to resolve - these issues are still not easy to resolve”, he said.

Russian envoy in Vienna nuclear talks Mikhail Ulyanov meeting with the Iranian delegation. March 3, 2022

Answering a question about the reports by Israeli media that the US government is close to declaring the nuclear deal talks a failure, he said, “The Israeli media is not the most reliable source of information. I treat them with deep skepticism and distrust. They pass off wishful thinking. Let's wait.”

“No one can give any guarantee that the JCPOA will be reactivated today”, the Russian envoy noted.

He made no mention of Russia’s $10 billion agreements with Iran to build additional nuclear reactors and the US decision to wave Ukraine sanctions allowing Moscow to carry out the projects once a nuclear deal is reached.

North-South Transport Corridor

The Russian envoy stressed the importance of the North-South Transport Corridor, which has long been planned to be opened between Iran and Russia, and said, “There are two main directions here: A land route through Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia, as well as through the Caspian Sea, bypassing transit countries”.

“We are actively working on this, our trade operations with Iran are carried out both by water through the Caspian Sea and through the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan,” he said, highlighting the recent trip to Moscow by Iranian Road and Urban Development Rustam Ghasemi.

He added that the closure of several European routes for Russia has made the North-South corridor even a higher priority.

“We have a number of very important projects with Iran, they did not start yesterday,” he said, mentioning “a project for the electrification of the Garmsar-Inche Burun railway from the central provinces of Iran to the Iranian-Turkmen border” and “the construction of the thermal power plant (TPP) ‎Sirik, which is expected to run on gas”.

Trade Ties

He also said Iran and Russia can also cooperate in a wide range of sectors, including oil and gas, transport, communications, IT, science and technology, food and agriculture.

Dzhagaryan went on to say that Iran can offer Russia “traditional types of products, such as vegetables, fruits, dried fruits, nuts". Iranian manufacturers also offer petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, building materials and light industry products as well as clothing and footwear, he added.

Highlighting the quality of Iranian products, considering their prices, the ambassador said, “I am now dressed in a suit of an Iranian manufacturer of Armenian origin, Mr. Hagopian. Very good suits and shirts.”

“As the Russian ambassador to Iran, I will make every effort to ensure that this cooperation develops as massively and quickly as possible for the benefit of our countries”, Dzhagaryan said.

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