In the current Russian Army 2023 defense exhibition (MCIS 2023) held in Moscow (14-20 August), Iran's Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces showcased their latest military innovations, underlining their role as key players in the regional defense sector. Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, inaugurated the event and was accompanied by Amir Nasirzadeh, Iran's Deputy Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces, during a visit to Iran's booth, a gesture highlighting the strengthening defense relationship between the two nations.
General Nasirzadeh commented, "The world is observing a shift in dynamics, with the decline of the unipolar system (led by the USA) and the rise of a multipolar one… This Exhibition provides a platform for independent nations to collaborate and align against the US and its allies who create crises." He further emphasized, "Our collaboration with Russia is both united and strategic, with the potential to bolster security in various regions globally."
Nasirzadeh also met (August 16) with Saudi Assistant Defence Minister Talal bin Abdullah bin Turki al-Otaibi during the Conference on International Security, marking the first official meeting between military officials of Iran and Saudi Arabia since the enhancement of relations between the two countries. Their conversation revolved around "exploring tangible methods to execute and progress the accords" brokered between their nations with Russia's mediation. Additionally, Nasirzadeh met with representatives from Russia, China, and neighboring countries. He stated, "We advocated for resistance, asserting that, according to our experience, standing firm against aggression produces outcomes, especially in unifying against the crisis instigated by America."
He stated on the exhibition's subject, "Our defense ministry will introduce key products at this event. We have substantial contributions to the defense industry and stand ready to export our defense technologies and expressed optimism that the display would attract new customers interested in purchasing Iranian products.
Iran's booth displayed a wide range of missile and drone systems, including the Balaban, Sadid, and Ghaem guided bombs that can be deployed from drones and the AT Tofan and Ababil surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, with 240 kg weight, and 45 kg warhead. Replicas of UAVs like Mohajer 6, Karar, Arash 2, Shahed 129, and Shahed 133 were also presented, along with equipment from the Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, such as the Zuhair ballistic missile and the third Khordad air defense system (Iran's equivalent to the S-300).
The exhibition serves as a promising platform for Iran and Russia to enhance their military collaboration, particularly in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. For Iran, the event not only opens doors for boosting sales of unmanned aircraft to Russia but also paves the way for future missile system transactions. With the expected lifting of restrictions in October on missile exports stemming from the nuclear agreement, Iran's potential in this sector is likely to expand.