Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan will visit Moscow next week to meet his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu, Iranian and Russian media report. Dehghan will also attend the 6th Moscow International Security Conference, which will take place in Moscow on April 26-27. The Russian defense minister Sergey, heads of Russia’s Security Council, and the country's Foreign Ministry will present Russia’s vision of world affairs at the conference. The Iranian embassy in Moscow has also confirmed the report.
Comment: While the Iranian and Russian media have not provided details about the meeting, Syria will most likely top the agenda. Since the U.S. retaliatory strikes in Syria on April 6, Russian and Iranian political and military leaders have had several phone conversations to coordinate their efforts in Syria and threatened to jointly respond to any further American “aggression” against their ally Bashar al-Assad. A joint operational command center of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s foreign backers warned that it will forcefully respond to any future U.S. military attack against Syria. The command center consists of Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and other Iran-controlled Shiite militia forces.
Iranian leaders were recently worried that Russia might betray Iran and strike a deal with Washington over Syria. But now they are trying to capitalize on growing tension between Washington and Moscow to further deepen Russia’s military engagement in Syria and strengthen Tehran-Moscow military and defense ties.