Russia and Iran Sign Military Cooperation Agreement

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, on visit to Tehran, says 'common challenges and threats' must be addressed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, December 19, 2014.AP

Iran and Russia have signed a military cooperation pact, the official TASS Russian news agency reported on Tuesday.

The agreement to intensify military and technological cooperation was made during a Tehran meeting between Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Deghan and visiting Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, Russian media reported.

Shoigu, who arrived in Tehran on Sunday, was quoted by as saying: “We are in favor of long-term and multi-level cooperation with Iran and welcome the Iranian leadership’s attempts to expanding its ties with Russia, including in military defense. We have common challenges and threats in the region that we can oppose only if we communicate."

Shoigu will also reportedly meet General Hassan Firouzabadi, the Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, while in Tehran.

Iran's IRNA state news agency described Shoigu's visit as an "outstanding event."

"Iran and Russia are able to confront the expansionist intervention and greed of the United States through cooperation, synergy and activating strategic potential capacities," Dehghan said. "As two neighbors, Iran and Russia have common viewpoints toward political, regional and global issues."

Shoigu did not the mention ongoing controversy over a deal to deliver a sophisticated air defense missile system to Iran. In 2007, Russia signed a $800-million contract to sell Tehran the S-300 missile system, but the weaponry was never delivered amid strong objections by United States and Israel.

Iran has filed a lawsuit with a court in Geneva seeking $4 billion in damages over the breach of the contract, but the court hasn't yet made any ruling. Russia has insisted that its decision to freeze the S-300 delivery was based on the United Nations Security Council's sanctions against Iran.

Iran's state TV reported Tuesday that Iran and Russia have agreed to settle their differences over the missile deal, without offering further details.

Last year, Russian media reports said that Moscow had sought to end the dispute by offering Iran a different, slightly inferior version of the S-300 system, but Tehran had rejected the proposal.

Russia remains a central player in ongoing negotiations concerning Iran's nuclear program between the Islamic Republic and the West. In January, it was reported that Iran tentatively agreed to ship much of its material needed to manufacture nuclear weapons to Russia.

In May 2014, it was reported that Russia planned on signing a contract with Iran to build two more nuclear reactors at its Bushehr power plant as part of a broader deal for up to eight reactors in Iran.