As Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi spoke at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Russia’s Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu arrived in the Islamic Republic for talks with Iran’s military leadership.
Moscow earlier said the visit aimed to strengthen the military ties between the two countries.
“During the visit, the Russian Defense Ministry delegation will hold a number of talks with the republic’s military leadership,” the Russian Ministry of Defense announced via a statement. “This visit will contribute to strengthening Russian-Iranian military ties and will be an important stage in the development of cooperation between the two countries.”
Russia has grown increasingly dependent on foreign support in its war against Ukraine, and Tehran has supplied the Kremlin with its Shahed kamikaze drones. The Russian military regularly uses these drones in air strikes against Ukraine.
“We are determined to implement the entire set of our planned activities despite opposition from the US and its Western allies. The pressure of sanctions on Russia and Iran is proving to be futile, while Russia-Iran cooperation is reaching new highs,” Shoigu said during talks with Iranian Defense Minister Mohammad-Reza Ashtiani on Wednesday, state media outlet Tass reported.
The Russian defense chief further announced that Moscow was ready “to take further joint steps to strengthen stability and security in the Middle East,” adding, “we are pleased to note that Russia-Iran dialogue has been particularly intense recently.”
Shoigu praised the trust-based relations he says exist between the leaders of Russia and Iran.
“The high intensity of meetings confirms our common determination to continue boosting strategic defense partnership,” the Russian defense minister noted.
Despite the burgeoning alliance, Raisi, who is known as a hard-liner, has repeatedly claimed that any Iran-made drones used against Ukrainian critical infrastructure or urban centers were sold before the war started. He stressed that he is in favor of peace in Ukraine.
The Iranian president further accused Washington of stoking the war.
“We are against the war and we are ready to mediate in order to end it, but the taxes of the American people are spent on war-making and filling the pockets of arms factories from the place of arms sales in this field,” Raisi said.
Shoigu’s meeting with Ashtiani came just days after North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un concluded his six-day trip to Russia on Sunday, Kim’s first official trip abroad since the COVID-19 pandemic.
During that visit, the North Korean leader met directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin as the pair toured a space launch facility. Kim also visited a number of military sites, shipyards, and aircraft factories.
North Korea has previously supplied munitions to the Kremlin to aid in Russia’s war in Ukraine.
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A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.