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Iran, Russian Top National Security Officials Discuss Expansion of Ties

By Nigar Bayramli February 10, 2023

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The Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani and Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev held a meeting in Moscow on February 8, to attend a conference focusing on security in Afghanistan and the surrounding areas. / IRNA news agency

Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), and Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev have underlined their deepening and accelerating bilateral cooperation.

Shamkhani, who visited Moscow on February 8 to attend a conference focusing on security in Afghanistan and the surrounding areas, stressed the strengthening of bilateral “synergy,” “particularly in dealing with common threats” while meeting with his Russian counterpart. He further highlighted the importance of deepening bilateral coordination at international organizations and strengthening multilateral cooperation in forums such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS.

Shamkhani also addressed regional security cooperation, saying that “strategies” should be devised which would incorporate regional countries’ efforts to combat sources of instability.

For his part, Patrushev linked the progress in the field of bilateral achievements to “the efforts and coordination of the national security institutions of Iran and Russia, and the systematic follow-ups undertaken in this regard.”

He went on to say that the acceleration of joint projects, especially in fields like transport, oil and gas, could play the role of a “motor” driving cooperation forward in other areas.

Meanwhile, the western media has recently reported that Tehran and Moscow were moving ahead with plans for a new factory in Russia to produce Iranian-designed drones. On February 7, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanani rejected these claims, criticized the western countries that “export weapons and military equipment to one side of the war,” referring to Ukraine, and accused them of creating “fake news.” Kanani described such countries as “arms exporters and extenders of wars,” adding that Iran was not a party to the Russia-Ukraine war.

In November 2022, The Washington Post reported the existence of a bilateral agreement for the manufacture of drones in Russia.

Amid overwhelming reports that Moscow is using Iranian drones in Ukraine, Tehran denies supplying the arms “to be used in the war,” but has admitted the supply of a “limited number” of drones months before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

On February 8, an unnamed official, who was introduced as the senior adviser to the Iranian Intelligence Minister said that China is among 90 countries wanting to buy Iranian drones.

“Our power has grown to the point that China is in the queue of buying 15,000 drones from us,” the unnamed official added, according to the ISNA news agency.

In May 2022, Iran opened a drone factory in Tajikistan to produce Ababil-2, a surveillance drone with an operational range of 100 km.