Russia scraps a secret understanding with USA, which banned weapons sales to Tehran

Iranian President Mohammed Khatami has begun a four-day visit to Russia, amid signs of a growing rapprochement between the two countries. Despite American opposition, Russia and Iran are discussing big arms deals, for which Moscow cleared the way late last year. Russia also irked the Americans by unilaterally scrapping a secret understanding with Washington that there would be no conventional weapons sales to Tehran, BBC reports. The Russian Defence Minister, Igor Sergeyev, followed up swiftly with a visit to Iran in December. The two countries are talking about arms sales worth several billion dollars, with Iran trying to replenish and upgrade stocks lost during eight years of war with Iraq in the 1980s. Russia in turn needs lots of hard cash to develop its own defence capabilities.

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