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Iran to extend '20-year cooperation agreement' with Russia

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Moscow, Russia on 21 July 2020 [Russian Foreign Ministry/Anadolu Agency]
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Moscow, Russia on 21 July 2020 [Russian Foreign Ministry/Anadolu Agency]

Iran is likely to extend its “20-year cooperation agreement” with Russia, which is due to expire in March 2021, the Iranian foreign minister announced yesterday.

Mohammad Javad Zarif’s remarks came after a cabinet meeting in the Iraninan capital city of Tehran, during which he discussed the results of his meeting with Russian officials during his one-day visit to Moscow on Tuesday.

Zarif told the official IRNA news agency that he met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and spoke to President Vladimir Putin on the phone.

“The meetings discussed the nuclear deal, mutual relations, as well as the extension of a long-term agreement with Russia,” Zarif added, noting that the two countries would turn the deal into a “strategic one”.

The agreement, Zarif pointed out, was in the “negotiation phase”, noting that it was expected to be submitted before the Iranian parliament for approval “in the coming weeks”.

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The talks come after Iran’s proposed 25-year “comprehensive cooperation agreement” with China.

This is Zarif’s second visit to Moscow in a month. While he did not provide details about the agreement, local sources reported that it was pertaining to a series of petrochemical and weapons deals signed in 2001 between then Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and Putin, under which Moscow agreed to sell Russian conventional arms to Iran.

On Monday, Iran’s ambassador to Russia, Kazem Jalali, was quoted by the media as saying that Iran was interested in buying new weapons from Moscow “to enhance its defence capacities”.

Russia is among a number of countries that have opposed the US’ demand for a UN arms embargo on Iran, which comes to an end in October, to be extended.

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