Leonid Maltsev arrived in Tehran January 21 on a two-day visit to meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najar.
The parties agreed on two-way visits by expert delegations, military and technical cooperation, interaction in staff training, and consultations at the level of defense ministers.
The ministers discussed issues of international security, prospects for bilateral cooperation, and experience in forming national defense forces.
The two countries have become increasingly isolated internationally over Iran's nuclear program and Belarus's poor human rights record. Both are subject to sanctions from Western powers.
The Belarusian Defense Ministry said cooperation between Minsk and Tehran was in line with international laws and the sanctions against Iran set out in the resolution unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council on December 23, 2006.
The resolution banned activities involving uranium enrichment, chemical reprocessing, heavy water-based nuclear power projects, and the production of nuclear weapons delivery systems, but allowed officials to make foreign trips and Iranian companies to do business abroad.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.