Iran, Belarus sign defence memorandum in Tehran

Iran, Belarus sign defence memorandum in Tehran
Iranian, Belarusian military chiefs sign memorandum / CC Belarus Military Channel
By bne IntelliNews August 1, 2023

Iran and Belarus have ratified an annual plan for military cooperation during a high-profile meeting in Tehran on July 31, Tass and IRNA reported.

This formalisation of military cooperation between Iran and Belarus indicates an increasing alignment of geopolitical interests between two internationally sanctioned states, potentially complicating diplomatic tensions. As this pact takes place amidst escalating military activity near the Polish border, it raises concerns about regional stability. Furthermore, the undisclosed nature of the agreement's specifics creates a veil of opacity that could fuel apprehension among other nations.

Defence Ministers Mohammad Reza Ashtiani and Viktor Khrenin agreed on several not-publicly-released details as part of an agreement between the two countries.

This development comes amid Khrenin's official sojourn in the Iranian capital and the recent moves by Belarus and Russia to increase military close to the border of Poland.

Local media outlets reported that the two defence leaders had drafted a memorandum of understanding, along with a plan for military collaboration for the current year.

“Our countries are similar in this. We, like you, clearly and consistently defend our sovereignty and independence. We are united by our common positions on many topical international issues,” Viktor Khrenin was quoted as saying in a message on the Telegram channel of the Belarusian ministry.

The conversation between Ashtiani and Khrenin also encompassed discussions regarding their bilateral military collaboration's existing status and prospective growth.

Consequent to the meeting, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Defence Ministry of Belarus and Iran's Ministry of Defence and Support of the Armed Forces.

Additionally, a plan for bilateral military cooperation for the ongoing year was documented, as per statements from the press service.

In April, Iran's Mahan Air has launched a direct flight connecting Tehran with Belarusian capital Minsk, following an agreement struck between the countries' aviation authorities.

Direct flights have never before connected the countries’ capitals.

Earlier in March, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko arrived Tehran on an official visit to bolster relations between the two sanctioned states due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Several agreements were signed between the heads of both governments, with deals estimated up to $100mn during the trip, bne IntelliNews reported.

Last year, trade between Belarus and Iran reached a record high. In 2022, it amounted to $100mn, more than three times higher than in 2021 ($33mn). The volume of Belarusian exports to Iran exceeded $81mn, having increased sixfold. Belarus mainly supplies Iran with potash fertilisers, timber and synthetic fibres and imports food products from Iran.