Russian and Iranian Defense Ministers to meet in Moscow next week, talks to center on additional arms sales

Following Soleimani visit with Putin and Shoigu, Iranian Defense Minister to visit Moscow next week; Talks for arms sales of jets and tanks underway

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Dehghan & Shoigu (AFP)

Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan will meet with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, the meeting reportedly to take place next week in Moscow and to focus on additional arms sales of Russian Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets and T-90 tanks.

The Russian TASS News Agency confirmed the scheduled meeting stating on Friday “The Iranian minister will have a meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.” Iran’s Ambassador to Russia, Mehdi Sana, stated that “Currently the bilateral relationship is on the rise…. Iran welcomes its further development and strengthening… this is demonstrated by regular meetings of foreign ministers, who have recently met 10 times.”

The announcement of the meeting between the defense officials comes just days after the head of the al-Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, Qassem Soleimani, visited Moscow. Reports confirming that Soleimani had once again violated a travel ban by the United Nations Security Council were released over the weekend, Reuter’s citing a “senior Iranian security official” stating “General Soleimani traveled to Moscow last night to discuss issues including the delivery of S-300s and further military cooperation.” The ban was placed in 2007 on high-ranking Iranian military officials due to Iran’s nuclear program, specifically its ballistic missile program.

Talks for sales of Russian jets have been under way for over a month as Russia continues to be the main military supplier to the Islamic Republic. Even before the lift of sanction on Iran during the creation of the nuclear deal with world powers, Russia and Iran renegotiated a previously frozen arms sale of S-300 missile defense system.

Last week Iran confirmed the delivery of the first shipment of the S-300 air defense missile system to Iran, the complete system to be delivered by mid-2016.