Iranian Foreign Minister to Visit Moscow Next Week

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to visit capital of his country's close ally, Russia.

Elad Benari ,

Mohammad Javad Zarif
Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will visit Moscow next week, Reuters reported on Monday, citing the Russian Tass news agency.

"The visit, genuinely, is expected next week," Tass quoted an embassy official as saying. "The exact date will be announced in the coming days."

An Iranian official said on Friday the head of Iran's elite military Quds Force, who is subject to a United Nations travel ban, had met senior Russian officials in Moscow in July.

Senior Western intelligence officials said Soleimani met with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and President Vladimir Putin and that the meetings took place on July 24.

Soleimani is the Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander who leads the elite Qods Force, which conducts foreign operations outside Iran's borders and directs the Islamic regime's terrorist activities throughout the world.

Sanctions against Soleimani are due to be lifted in the event the Iran nuclear deal is implemented.

Russia and Iran are close partners. The two countries have both backed the Syrian regime in the ongoing civil war; Moscow is also preparing to deliver S-300 missile defense systems to Tehran despite a chorus of international criticism.

Putin, who signed a decree lifting a ban on the delivery of the S-300, explained that his decision was motivated by Iran's drive to find a solution in talks over its nuclear program.

Washington has voiced concern over the deal, but Iran hailed the decision as a step towards "lasting security" in the region.