Russia said Tuesday it will develop military cooperation with Tehran after a United Nations arms embargo on Iran expires next month, despite U.S. efforts to block arms deals.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier this month that Washington would prevent Iran from purchasing Chinese tanks and Russian air defense systems as the U.N. arms embargo expiration approaches.
"New opportunities will emerge in our cooperation with Iran after the special regime imposed by U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231 expires on Oct. 18," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the Interfax news agency.
"The amount of this cooperation and the areas in which it will develop is a separate question," he added.
He said any agreements with Iran would have "nothing to do with the unlawful and illegal actions of the U.S. administration, which is trying to intimidate the entire world."
The embargo on conventional arms shipments to Iran is set to expire next month after the United States failed to win support for a new UN resolution.
The Trump administration says it is "snapping back" virtually all U.N. sanctions on Iran lifted under a 2015 nuclear accord with Tehran negotiated by former President Barack Obama.
Trump pulled out of the deal with great fanfare in 2018, but Pompeo argues that the United States is still a "participant" in the agreement, with the right to impose sanctions for violations.
The legal argument has been rejected by almost the entire U.N. Security Council, with European allies of the United States saying the priority is to salvage a peaceful solution to Iran's nuclear program.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is due to meet his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Moscow on Thursday.
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