Iran Interested in Implementing Russian Joint Air Defense System

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On February 15, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan arrived in Moscow on an official visit; the minister is expected to meet with Russian presidential aide Vladimir Kozhin, Deputy Premier Dmitry Rogozin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

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Iran has been strengthening its defense ties with Russia, from coordinating the war on terror to importing technology for the production of T-90 tanks. However, in terms of developing new military tech, it is most interested in cooperating with Russia to build an integrated air defense system.

This may be one of the main topics on the agenda during Dehghan’s visit to Moscow, journalist, military expert and Director of the Center for Analysis of World Arms Trade Igor Korotchenko told RIA Novosti.

According to him, Iran is interested in creating a complex and integrated air defense system rather than buying separate air defense components from Russia.

"What Iran needs is more than just air defense missiles and systems but an integrated air defense [network], comprising short-, medium- and long-range components. It could be created using Russian technology and innovations. Another important component is a large shipment of Su-30 4++ generation multirole fighters," he said.

Korotchenko added that Iran is also interested in creating a "modern air traffic management system on its territory."

The visit of the Iranian minister is particularly important in the light of the removal of anti-Iranian sanctions.

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According to Korotchenko, the removal of sanctions has paved the way for a new level of military technology cooperation between Tehran and Moscow.

"Tehran understands that buying weapons [from sources other than] Russia poses serious political and technical risks. The West can always suspend contracts… Iran has already faced [this]," he said.

In this context, Tehran has no alternative but to partner with Moscow, the analyst said.

"When all anti-Iranian sanctions are lifted Russia will be able to meet the needs of all branches of the Iranian armed forces," he added.

Another possible issue on the agenda is the crisis in Syria and the joint fight against Daesh (ISIL/ISIS).

"Russia and Iran are key players in the Syrian peace process as well as the fight against Daesh militants. I think that that Russian and Iranian defense ministers will agree on certain steps to defeat Daesh and restore peace in Syria," Korotchenko said.

Dehghan is also expected to discuss issues with the Russian Defense Ministry related to military cooperation, including personnel training and join drills.

"Russia could train senior Iranian officers, for example, at the Military Academy of the Russian General Staff. Iran needs military experience and knowledge which Russia has," the analyst said.

According to him, Russia and Iran will also discuss the format of joint military exercises in the Caspian Region and in other regions.

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