Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited the aerospace unit of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Wednesday where he inspected drones, missiles, and air defense systems, Iranian state media reported.
Shoigu, who arrived in Tehran on Tuesday, was welcomed and given a tour by Amirali Hajizadeh, the head of the IRGC’s aerospace unit, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency.
Earlier on Wednesday, Shoigu met with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Reza Ashtiani. Talks revolved around a “long-term military and defense cooperation document” between Iran and Russia, as well as proposals to address the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Tasnim said.
Addressing the tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Ashtiani said: “Maintaining international borders and the territorial integrity of regional countries is one of the red lines of the Islamic Republic of Iran … we consider the proposed 3+3 format to be a solution for peacefully solving issues in the Caucasus region.”
The “3+3” format includes the three Caucasian states - Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia - and their three neighboring countries - Russia, Turkey, and Iran.
This comes as Azerbaijan launched a military operation against separatist forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh region on Tuesday.
Shoigu, for his part, said that the relationship between Russia and Iran has reached a new level despite opposition from the West.
“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,” Russia’s TASS news agency quoted Shoigu as saying during his meeting with his Iranian counterpart.
Upon his arrival in Tehran on Tuesday, Shoigu met with Iran’s top military commander, Mohammad Bagheri, who serves as the chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces.
Bagheri said that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei believes that long-term cooperation between Iran and Russia is in the interest of both countries, and “that's why the long-term cooperation document is being drafted.”
“This document holds significant military and defense dimensions and can serve as a suitable platform for the expansion of long-term bilateral cooperation.”
Over the past year, Russia and Iran, both subject to international sanctions, have forged strong ties across multiple sectors, with a particular emphasis on military collaboration.
Ukraine and its Western allies have accused Iran of supplying weapons to Russia for use in its ongoing war against Kyiv. Tehran denies the allegations.
Earlier this month, Iranian media reported that the country’s air force had taken delivery of a shipment of Russian YAK-130 training aircraft, aimed at enhancing the training and combat capabilities of its air force.
In May, the United States voiced concern that Tehran and Moscow were “expanding their unprecedented defense partnership.”