The latest exchange between Washington and Moscow on leaks of Russian missile technology came as Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi wound up two days of talks with Russian leaders in Moscow. Although reports at the close of Kharrazi’s stay yesterday made no mention of the subject, Russian sources suggested on February 25 that Kharrazi’s agenda included talks on new purchases by Iran of Russian military hardware. Few specifics were provided, but Iran was said to be interested in Russian attack helicopters, high-speed naval vessels and ship-to-ship missiles. Any new Iranian-Russian arms deals would seem to violate a 1995 understanding between Moscow and Washington. Russian sources also said that Moscow might reconsider that pledge in the event of U.S. air attacks on Iraq. (AP, NTV, Russian agencies, February 25)
During his stay in Moscow, Kharrazi met with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Security Council Secretary Ivan Rybkin, Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov and Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov. At the conclusion of the talks, both sides applauded the warming of relations that has occurred between Moscow and Tehran in recent years, and each described relations with the other as a high priority. They made clear that they would resist Washington’s efforts to block Russian-Iranian trade relations. (See Monitor, February 25) Both sides also claimed to see eye-to-eye on several regional issues — including stabilization in Tajikistan and Afghanistan — and on the need for a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Iraq. They agreed to set up consultative groups to discuss regional issues and to help translate their "joint vision on the situation in the region into practical deeds, and to enhance peace and security." (Russian agencies, February 25-26)
Government Meeting Ends in Confusion.