Russia's Vladimir Putin with Iran's ruler Ali Khamenei meeting in Tehran in July 2022

Russia Says It's Working On Major New Agreement With Iran

Tuesday, 12/12/2023

Russia and Iran will speed up work on a "major new interstate agreement", the Russian foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

It did not detail the scope of the agreement, which comes amid growing political, trade and military ties between Moscow and Tehran that the United States views with concern.

In a statement, Russia said the two countries' foreign ministers agreed in a phone call on Monday to speed up work on the agreement, which was at "a high stage of readiness".

Last week President Vladimir Putin held five hours of talks in the Kremlin with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

Russia has procrastinated in renewing a two-decade-old strategic agreement with Iran, but with the war in Ukraine Moscow depends on Iranian weapons, such as kamikaze drones.

Like North Korea, whose leader Kim Jong Un met Putin in Russia's far east in September, Iran is an avowed enemy of the United States and can provide Moscow with military hardware for its war in Ukraine, where Russia has made extensive use of Iranian drones.

The Kremlin last month said Russia and Iran were developing their relations, "including in the field of military-technical cooperation” but declined to comment on a suggestion by the White House that Iran may be considering providing Russia with ballistic missiles.

Iran is the main backer of Israel's enemy Hamas. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone with Putin on Sunday and voiced "robust disapproval" of Russia's "dangerous" cooperation with Iran.

Iranian authorities have said military cooperation with Russia is expanding day by day. Iran said last month it had finalized arrangements for Russia to provide it with Su-35 fighter jets, Mi-28 attack helicopters and Yak-130 pilot training aircraft.

Reporting by Reuters

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