Iran looks to buy Russian weapons to ‘enhance defense capacities’

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Tehran is looking to buy Russian weapons to “enhance its defense capacities,” Iran’s ambassador to Moscow has been quoted as saying, amid US efforts to extend an arms embargo on Iran expiring later this year.

Iran will hold talks with Russia to determine its military needs, Iranian Ambassador Kasem Jalali was quoted as saying by Russia’s TASS news agency, Monday.

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“The Russian government and the Russian people have always been by our side in times of trouble. Russia is our priority partner in this sense,” Jalali said.

Jalali’s remarks come as the US increases its diplomatic efforts to extend the UN Security Council arms embargo on Iran, which expires on October 18.

Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, was in Russia Tuesday where he met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

Zarif said he delivered an “important message” to Russian President Vladimir Putin, without elaborating.

The US argues that a failure to extend the arms embargo on Tehran would further destabilize the Middle East.

Read more: Pompeo warning as US sanctions imposed on Iranian shipping network over proliferation

Senior Iranian officials have warned against the extension of the embargo on numerous occasions in recent weeks, saying it would have severe consequences for Washington and its allies.

Iran is counting on China and Russia to block the extension of the arms embargo at the UN Security Council. Moscow and Beijing have signaled that they oppose the extension.

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