TEHRAN, January 20. /TASS/. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Dehgan have signed an agreement on military cooperation between the two countries.
Shoigu said afterwards that relations between the Russian and Iranian defense ministries has been on a steady rise for the past few years.
“Today’s signing of an inter-governmental agreement on military cooperation is a major step along these lines. A theoretical basis for interaction in the military sphere has been created,” Shoigu said.
Russia and Iran agreed that bilateral cooperation should have a greater practical aspect and contribute to enhancing the combat readiness of the Russian and Iranian armed forces.
Shoigu said that the negotiations concerned issues of mutual interest, such as delegation exchanges, inter-staff talks and also exchange of experience in peace-keeping operations and the struggle against terrorism. The topic of humanitarian mine-clearing operations was considered at Russia’s request.
“We have agreed to expand the practice of naval ships’ visits to Russian and Iranian ports,” Shoigu said.
The Russian defense minister also invited his Iranian counterpart to the Moscow conference on international security, due in April.
“I have invited General Dehgan to pay a visit to Russia and to speak at the 4th Moscow conference on international security in April 2015,” Shoigu said after negotiations and the signing of an agreement of military cooperation between Russia and Iran.
Also, he voiced the hope for a further dialogue with Iran in the course of activities Russia would arrange for during its presidency of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Dehgan thanked Shoigu for the invitation to the conference, where, according to the Iranian defense minister “each will be able to speak one’s mind and express views on crucial issues of maintaining international security and regional stability.”
Last year Dehgan visited the Moscow conference. At a meeting with Shoigu he declared that Iran was interested in taking cooperation with Russia to a new level.
Sergey Shoigu said the assessments of Russia and Iran of the situation in the Middle East and Afghanistan are similar or identical.
During the talks, “we exchanged views on several key issues of international and regional security”. “Primarily this is related to the Middle East and Afghanistan. Our assessments on the situation are similar or identical to a large extent,” Shoigu said.
He said the parties stressed the need to coordinate efforts aimed at countering terrorism and drug trafficking.
“We consider deescalation of tensions one of the priority tasks in our responsibility area. We’ll intensify contacts on this problem. I hope for our further close cooperation,” Shoigu said.