Tehran, Iran – Russia’s security chief has held talks about the war in Ukraine and improving bilateral relations with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and top security official Ali Shamkhani.
Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of the Security Council of Russia, met the Iranian president in Tehran on Wednesday afternoon following a meeting with Shamkhani, the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) of Iran.
Raisi said Iran remains opposed to the war as a fundamental policy, according to state media.
“The development of the extent and expansion of the scale of war causes concern for all countries,” he was quoted as saying.
The Iranian president, nevertheless, said Tehran and Moscow are upgrading relations to a “strategic” level, something he said is “the most decisive response to the policy of sanctions and destabilisation of the United States and its allies”.
The United States and the European Union have sanctioned Tehran and Moscow over the war. Washington has also continued to build on its harsh sanctions on Iran that have been imposed since 2018 when it unilaterally abandoned the country’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
Shamkhani on Wednesday told Patrushev that Iran wants a stop to the war, according to Nournews, an outlet close to the SNSC.
“Iran welcomes and supports any initiative that would lead to ceasefire and peace between Russia and Ukraine based on dialogue, and is ready to play a role to end the war,” Shamkhani was quoted as saying.
Patrushev reportedly criticised the role of Western media in “misleading public opinion about how the Ukraine crisis started and its realities on the ground”.
The meetings come days after Iran for the first time admitted it sold drones to Russia, but claimed a “limited” number were shipped months before the start of the war.
Kyiv has accused Tehran of lying about its weapons supplies to Moscow. Ukraine has faced blackouts after weeks of Russian attacks on its infrastructure, which it says have been carried out with the help of Shahed-136 kamikaze drones and other types of unmanned aerial vehicles manufactured by Iran.
On Wednesday, Shamkhani said Iran wants to quickly improve energy, transport, agriculture, trade, banking and environment ties with Moscow, and use the capacities of multilateral organisations, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, of which it became an official member earlier this year.
Patrushev was also quoted as saying that the most important goal of his visit was to accelerate the implementation of joint projects and boost cooperation.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday following a cabinet meeting, Iran’s Petroleum Minister Javad Owji said Raisi’s administration is following up on an energy agreement worth $40bn that was signed with Russia’s Gazprom during President Vladimir Putin’s trip to Tehran in July.
“We also have on the agenda the development of gas fields and gas export lines, on which we have signed about $4bn worth of contracts with Russia,” he said.