In his four-day trip to Tehran, Russian Air Force Chief Gen. Viktor Bondarev and his hosts, Brig. Gen. Hassan Shasafi and other senior Iranian military chiefs, laid the groundwork for a series of agreements to upgrade their military ties to a level unprecedented in their past relations. debkafile’s military and Iranian sources report that Iran is deliberately accentuating those ties as a message to the Western powers that if they give the Islamic Republic a hard time over its nuclear program, it will go all the way to a full-dress defense pact with Russia.
Moscow has its own reasons for being keen to expand its military ties with Tehran:
1. Signing defense accords and arms transactions with Iran will give Russia its first serious military foothold in the Persian Gulf;
2. Moscow is not only seeking to compete with the US military presence in the Gulf but also displace America and China in the weapons markets of the Middle East.
3. Major Russian-Iranian arms deals will be a precedent for important weapons transactions brokered by Saudi Arabia with Egypt. Moscow sees the shape of a weapons-trading triangle that could be exploited in the future for Russia to serve in the role of mediator between Riyadh and Tehran.
These are long term strategic goals for the Kremlin.
Full article: Russia and Iran expanding military cooperation and arms trade (DEBKAfile)