Iran Interested in Russian Weapons — Ambassador

Iran is interested in developing military-technical cooperation with Russia, the country’s ambassador to Russia, Gholamreza Ansari, said on Friday.

“Until now, our cooperation has mostly been established in the sphere of trade,” the ambassador was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying. “But the Iranian government now wants to strengthen cooperation with Russia in the field of energy, in particular nuclear energy. We also intend to develop military-technical cooperation.”

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov earlier confirmed Russia’s intention to continue military-technical cooperation with Iran. He said that “Russia is supplying Iran with conventional armaments and military hardware such as armored vehicles and air defense equipment of a limited range. This is ordinary commercial trade and we are not going to end it.”

It was reported in the beginning of December that Russia had struck a deal to sell short-range, surface-to-air missiles to Iran. Ivanov said this did not change the balance of forces in the region.

The European Union has formally protested to Russia about the deal.