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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Minister: Iran, Russia to boost military cooperation

TEHRAN, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said that Iran and Russia are to boost military cooperation, the semi-official Fars news agency reported on Sunday.

"Tehran and Moscow are to review ways to enhance military cooperation during an upcoming visit to Russia by Iranian defense minister," Fars said.

Najjar is scheduled to travel to Moscow on Monday to discuss military and technical cooperation and review implementation of agreements inked by the two countries, according to Iran's defense ministry.

He is also slated to pay a visit to Russian defense industries.

In December, Deputy Director of the Russian Federal Organization for Military and Technical Cooperation Alexander Foumin said that his country intended to expand joint cooperation with Iran, which would have a positive impact on stability in the Middle East region.

Such a cooperation has raised concerns about the rising military capabilities of Iran, as the Western observers has elaborated.

However, earlier this month, Iranian ambassador to Russia Seyed Mahmoud Reza Sajjadi played down such concerns.

"Probably, there will be some changes, but generally the scale of this cooperation is not that large as (the media) allege," Sajjadi told a news conference in Moscow, adding that "We think that Iran-Russia military-technical cooperation is slightly exaggerated."  

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