Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei meeting Russia's Vladimir Putin in Tehran in 2022

Moscow Expects New Cooperation Pact With Iran in 'Very Near Future'

Tuesday, 06/25/2024

Moscow expects to sign a new agreement on comprehensive cooperation with Iran "in the very near future," a top Russian official said on Tuesday despite earlier reports of possible delays.

"We expect that this agreement will be signed in the very near future, since work on the text is already close to completion. All the necessary wording has been found," RIA cited Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko as saying in an interview.

Earlier in June, Russia's foreign ministry said that work on the agreement was temporarily suspended, while Iran said there was no break in preparing the new pact. Zamir Kabulov, a Russian foreign ministry official, was cited as stating on June 11 that "This is a strategic decision made by the leadership of both countries. The process has halted due to issues faced by our Iranian partners."

Later, both Iranian and Russian officials issued statements reiterating that work to finalize the agreement was in progress and reports about its suspension were exaggerated.

The Islamic Republic of Iran and Russia are strategic adversaries of the United States and their cooperation reached a new level in 2022 when Iran began supplying hundreds of suicide drones to Moscow to attack civilian and infrastructure targets in Ukraine. Reports have also emerged indicating possible ballistic missile deliveries.

Europe and the United States have warned Tehran against further military cooperation with Moscow, sanctioning dozens of individuals and companies involved in weapons deliveries.

Tehran and Moscow initially signed a long-term agreement in March 2001. Officially known as the Treaty of the Foundation of Mutual Relations and the Principles of Cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation Act, it was initially set for ten years but was extended twice for five-year terms.

According to Iran’s ambassador to Russia, the countries agreed to extend the agreement for another five years in 2021, setting its expiration date in 2026.

In 2023, reports of possible difficulties in developing the new agreement with Russia, resulting from protests from Iran in response to a joint statement issued following the Russia-GCC Strategic Dialogue, were made.

In particular, the disagreement concerns one point in the GCC joint statement, from July 2023, which Iranian officials believe reflects Moscow's solidarity with the UAE's position on the territorial dispute regarding three islands in the Persian Gulf that Tehran considers to be its territory. Moscow's explanations were unsatisfactory to the Iranian side.

The 2001 pact called, among others, for cooperation in security, energy projects, including the peaceful use of nuclear energy and the construction of nuclear power plants, industry and technology, according to its text published on the Kremlin's website.

Very few details have emerged on what the new agreement would include. After Russia launched its full-scale invasion on Ukraine in 2022 and subsequent sanctions on Moscow by Kyiv's allies, Russia and Iran have firmed investment, military and energy ties.

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