Iran-Russia Strategic Coop. Widening

Iran-Russia Strategic Coop. WideningIran-Russia Strategic Coop. Widening

A lawmaker said an upcoming visit to Bandar Anzali port in northern Iran by a Russian fleet indicates expansion of the two countries’ strategic relations.

Mohammad Javad Jamali made the statement in an interview with ICANA on Wednesday, referring to the reports that Russian warships are scheduled to berth at the Iranian port late this month, in a symbolic act.

“Fortunately, interactions between Iran and Russia have reached an optimal level and today, we see the strengthening of their military cooperation,” he said.

On August 16, Russian bomber planes were deployed in the Hamedan air base in western Iran to launch attacks on targets in Syria, including the positions of the self-styled Islamic State and other terrorist groups operating there.

Moscow’s use of the Iranian air base ended after several days, with Russia saying the operation had achieved its objective.

Both Iran and Russia support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against foreign-backed militants fighting to topple his government.

The lawmaker said such symbolic port calls show the depth of relations between the two neighbors.

“It will also send a message to westerners, forcing them to make changes to their plans,” said the lawmaker, who is a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission.

This year, Russia also used Iran’s airspace to fire cruise missiles at terrorist positions in Syria, using warships in the Caspian Sea.

According to the Russian Sputnik news agency, Russian naval squadrons will visit Bandar Anzali, Kazakhstan’s port of Aktau, as well as Azerbaijan’s port of Baku, in a two-week trip that includes their participation in ADEX-2016 international naval exhibition in Baku that will be held on September 27-30.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi said in a press briefing this week that Iran will also send its warships to Russia’s Astrakhan Port.

The first-ever visit of the Caspian Flotilla warships to Iran happened in 2007 and their next docking in Iran took place in November of 2014.

Iran’s warships also paid a courtesy visit to Astrakhan in 2013.