Iran sends military to Belarus for first time since USSR’s collapse

Iran sends military to Belarus for first time since USSR’s collapse
This happened more than 30 years after the establishment of diplomatic relations between the countries / CC: Cyril
By bne Tehran bureau May 19, 2024

Iran has sent a new military attaché officially to Belarus for the first time in more than 30 years, according to a report by TASS on May 16.

The decision by Iran to move its military onto the border of the EU and Ukraine will likely spook NATO, considering how integral the Islamic Republic has become in the war between Moscow and Kyiv with its low-cost drones and weapons, which have made the fighting increasingly protracted. The announcement also follows a visit to China by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is seeking closer integration of the BRICS block of countries, which now includes Iran. 

“The accreditation of a military diplomat from Iran took place for the first time since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Belarus and the Islamic Republic of Iran,” an official message from Belarus said.

The message comes following the accreditation meeting of the head of the Department of International Military Cooperation of the Ministry of Defence, Valery Revenko, with the military attaché at the Iranian Embassy in the Russian Federation and Belarus and concurrently captain of the first rank Reza Khosravi Moghadam.

According to the Russian media, during the meeting, the parties discussed the state and prospects for the development of bilateral military cooperation and also exchanged views on issues of international and regional security.

The move to grant Iran’s military access to a country directly on the border of NATO and the EU is likely to send alarm bells across the West as Iran continues to encroach on non-traditional areas of dispute, including the war in Ukraine.

Earlier in a Moscow meeting of military officials at the Iranian diplomatic mission on April 19, Khosravi Moghadam said that numerous plans and measures have been implemented, including the “establishment of various bases such as strategic drone bases and underground tactical bases,” without naming their locations, Tehran Times reported.

Moving on to the military and defence cooperation between Moscow and Tehran, Khosravi Moghadam spoke of the “multifaceted nature of this collaboration [with Russia and Belarus].”

Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) officers are currently active in several locations globally, most recently highlighted by Israel’s targeting of the Iranian embassy in Damascus, Syria, in January.

The Israeli strike happened in the Mezzeh neighbourhood of western Damascus, an area known for housing several embassies, including those of Lebanon and Iran, video released on the Aparat page shows.

"Hojatollah Omidvar, Ali Aghazadeh, Hossein Mohammadi, Saeed Karimi, and Mohammad Amin Samadi achieved the exalted rank of martyrdom today in an Israeli attack on Damascus," Iranian media wrote in January.