The ordinary relations between Iran and Russia developed into strategic ties, not least after Russia began to take a serious role in the fight against terrorism in Syria, Ali Shamkhani said in an interview with the Institute for Iran-Eurasia Studies, Tasnim reported.
Describing the bilateral arms deals as only a small portion of defense cooperation between Tehran and Moscow, Shamkhani said the two sides have decided to boost military interaction in light of their mutual interests.
Asked about any concerns about Russia’s augmenting influence in the region in the wake of its freedom to wield power amid the crisis in Syria, Shamkhani said there is no place for concern because Iran and Russia are handling military actions “in a coordinated manner and with a mutual purpose.”
“We are (rather) worried about military maneuvers by countries which are moving against security in the region, the ones that provide Daesh (ISIL) and other terrorist groups with arms, financial and intelligence supports,” he added.
Shamkhani further made it clear that cooperation with Russia would never violate Iran’s policy of “independence and non-reliance on world powers,” but pursues “common purposes”.
Iran and Russia have formed a strong alliance in recent years, with both supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s legitimate government against foreign-backed militancy.
In August 2016, Iran let Russian fighter jets use its Nojeh military airbase for missions in Syria.
Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan had announced that the Russian aircraft fly to the Iranian airbase to be either refueled or get reloaded, noting that they use the base for more effective operation against terrorist groups in Syria.
Syria has been gripped by civil war since March 2011 with various terrorist groups, including Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL), currently controlling parts of it.