Russian, Iranian defense ministers meet

May 23, 2014 GMT

MOSCOW (AP) — Iran’s defense minister has invited his Russian counterpart to visit Tehran, saying it would send a “clear message to the Americans.”

Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu welcomed Iran’s Hossein Dehqan to discuss closer cooperation and regional security, at a time when Russia’s ties with the West have plummeted to the lowest level since the Cold War over the crisis in Ukraine.

In the opening remarks at the start of their talks, carried by Russian news agencies, Dehqan criticized the U.S. and added that his visit marks a “new level” in Russian-Iranian relations.

It wasn’t clear when Shoigu could visit Iran.

Russia previously has been cautious about selling sophisticated weapons to Iran because of strong U.S. and Israeli pressure. Russia is also involved in international talks on Iran’s nuclear program.