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Iran, Russia boosting strategic military cooperation in Syria: Shamkhani

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani

A senior Iranian official says the Islamic Republic and Russia are boosting strategic cooperation in the fight against terrorism in Syria.

“We believe that such relations are underway in a strategic form, particularly since Russia’s serious and effective involvement in the fight against terrorism started in Syria,” Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said on Tuesday.

He added that Iran and Russia have military and defensive cooperation given their common interests.

“Contrary to certain countries in the region which merely purchase and stockpile US arms, Iran, itself, chooses the type of weapons it requires,” he said, adding that the purchases are very small compared to the arms designed and produced in the country.

He said arms sales are a very small part of defense cooperation between Iran and Russia.

The SNSC secretary emphasized that military maneuvers between Tehran and Moscow, which are staged based on common goals, are not a cause for concern, adding, however, that “we are concerned about military drills by countries that are moving in a path contrary to the provision of security in the region.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) shakes hands with his Syrian counterpart Minister Walid Muallem (L) as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov looks on after a joint press conference after their talks in the Russian capital Moscow on April 14, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Shamkhani reiterated that Iran and Russia have strategic cooperation with the purpose of countering terrorism, saying such interaction is beneficial to the two sides.

Tehran and Moscow have been supporting Syria in its counter-terrorism battles over the past years, facilitating many army gains on the battlefield.

Iran and Russia have been offering military advisory assistance to the Syrian army, while Moscow also provides air cover to the government’s ground operations on several fronts.

Shamkhani further pointed to achievements made by the coalition of Iran, Russia, Syria, Iraq and the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement and said such an alliance is not “short-lived” as its goal is not temporary.

The Iranian official stressed the importance of the establishment of effective coalitions among countries in the region in order to ensure regional and international security.

“Undoubtedly, the threat of terrorism still tops security threats in the international community,” Shamkhani said.

“The most important issue is that there is a common analysis of the future of regional developments, the pervasiveness of the danger of terrorist groups and the negative role of the US and its fake alliance in the region,” he added.

He noted that common strategies have been drawn up to tackle terrorism and exchange experience in this regard.

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