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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Top Security Envoys to Meet in Moscow

President Vladimir Putin's security adviser will meet Thursday with an envoy of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov will meet with Ali Akbar Velayati, Ivanov's spokeswoman Ksenia Roshchina said Wednesday.

Russia has urged Iran to take steps to prove its claims that it is not seeking nuclear weapons, but is a staunch supporter of Tehran's right to a peaceful nuclear energy program.

Ivanov visited Iran late last month and met with Khamenei as well as others including Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani.

During Ivanov's visit, Iran said it needed time to review a plan proposed by the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog that called for holding off on imposing UN Security Council sanctions if Tehran halts uranium enrichment. Ivanov expressed optimism that the dispute over Iran's nuclear program could be resolved if both sides agreed to it.

Also Wednesday, Iran's Elite Revolutionary Guards test-fired a newly acquired Russian missile-defense system near the strategically important Strait of Hormuz, state radio reported.

The two-day maneuvers are Iran's second since the UN Security Council approved economic sanctions against it Dec. 23, which ban selling to Iran materials and technology that it could use in its nuclear and missile programs.

As tensions rise over Iran's nuclear standoff with the West, the United States and Iran have pursued an escalating series of military moves, with Washington sending a second aircraft carrier battle group to the region and Iran responding with more frequent maneuvers.

The Revolutionary Guards began the games Wednesday in the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea, which flank the strait, through which some 20 percent of the world's oil moves daily.

The goal of the maneuvers, dubbed Saegheh and Badr, is to improve the "defense, stamina and operation" of participating units, state radio reported. The first word of the games' name means lightning, while the second refers to a decisive battle in the early days of Islam.

Iran announced in January that it had received the Tor-M1 Russian air defense missile system, though it did not say when the weapons had arrived. Moscow had said previously that it would supply 29 of the systems to Iran under a $700 million contract signed in December 2005.

The United States and several of its Western allies believe that Iran is using the nuclear program to produce an atomic weapon -- charges Iran denies, saying its aim is to generate electricity.

The U.S. military, which maintains around 200,000 troops and around four-dozen ships in the region, keeps a close eye on Iran's military, U.S. military officials have said.