Russia’s defense minister to visit Tehran on Tuesday

Russia’s defense minister to visit Tehran on Tuesday

DUBAI (Reuters): Russia’s defense minister Sergei Shoigu will visit Tehran on Tuesday, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported, adding that he would meet top Iranian officials.

Since the imposition of Western sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Tehran and Moscow have deepened their bilateral ties, notably in the military sphere.

Tasnim added that Shoigu would discuss defense cooperation and regional developments with top Iranian officials, including his Iranian counterpart.

On Tuesday, Azerbaijan said its armed forces had launched what it called “local anti-terrorist activities” in the Nagorno-Karabakh region to restore constitutional order by disarming and forcing the withdrawal of Armenian military formations there.

Iran borders both Azerbaijan and Armenia, and has called upon Baku and Yerevan to uphold a 2020 cease-fire backed by Russia.

Last month, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Russia’s military cooperation with Iran would not succumb to geopolitical pressure, following a report that Washington had asked Tehran to stop selling drones to Moscow.

Iran’s air force received in recent weeks the delivery of two Russian Yak-130 pilot training fighters, Tasnim said.

Tehran has acknowledged sending drones to Russia but said in the past that they were sent before Russia’s invasion in Ukraine. Moscow has denied its forces have used Iranian drones in Ukraine.