23:53 GMT04 August 2020
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    Commander of US Central Command General Lloyd Austin said that Russia’s cooperation with Iran appears to be expanding beyond near-term coordination for operations in Syria and is moving towards an emerging strategic partnership.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States is worried that Russia’s operational collaboration with Iran in Syria is growing into a long-term strategic security partnership, Commander of US Central Command General Lloyd Austin said in congressional testimony on Tuesday.

    "Russia’s cooperation with Iran appears to be expanding beyond near-term coordination for operations in Syria and is moving towards an emerging strategic partnership," Austin stated.

    Austin noted that the potential for a more traditional Russian-Iranian security arrangement is cause for significant concern given Moscow’s seat on the UN Security Council and Tehran’s ties with the Syrian government and Lebanese Hezbollah.

    "We already see indications of high-end weapon sales and economic cooperation between the two countries," Austin added.

    The United States has previously expressed concerns about Russia’s delivery of the S-300 air defense system to Iran. Moscow annulled the S-300 delivery ban in April, 2015, after Iran and six world powers, including Russia, reached a framework nuclear deal to lift the anti-Tehran sanctions in exchange for guarantees of the peaceful nature of its nuclear activities.

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    Lloyd Austin, United States, Iran, Russia
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