Iran rolled out the red carpet for the arrival of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was warmly welcomed by Iranian Oil Minister Javad Ovji at Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport on Tuesday 19 July. Mr Putin’s second foreign trip since the invasion of Ukraine mirrors US President Joe Biden’s recent tour of Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Sanctioned by the West — one for its nuclear ambitions, the other for its offensive in Ukraine — Iran and Russia are seeking to deepen their understanding while keeping Turkey on their toes.
On Tuesday, three Russian heads of state, Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iran’s Ibrahim Raisi met in Tehran to discuss Syria, where all three are engaged in the so-called “Astana” process. A solution to the Syrian conflict. But The war took center stage in Ukraine.
In particular, there was talk of a possible export of Ukrainian grain banned by Russia, but to no avail. Mr Putin may have mentioned “Some Progress” On the issue of Ukrainian grain, his position did not change one iota, appreciating Turkish mediation. Above all he continues to demand the lifting of a portion of the economic sanctions imposed by the West against his country.
Its demands may have been heard, the European Commission has thus proposed to member states to lift the ban “certain funds” Russian banks have been frozen following sanctions to help restart Russian exports of agricultural products, including wheat and fertilizers. In full conflict with the Atlantic seaboard bloc, the Kremlin seeks the support of master Tehran, if only to prove that his country is not as isolated as Westerners claim.
Moscow needs drones
“Relationship with Khamenei is very important”, recalled Yury Ochakov, diplomatic adviser to the Russian president, before meeting with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The positions of the two countries on the most important issues “close or similar”, he noted. Both are key supporters of the Syrian regime. Moscow, which is on the offensive in Donbass, has had to reduce its presence on the Syrian mainland, hoping that Iranian Shiite militias will continue to support Bashar al-Assad militarily.
Focusing on Ukraine, Russia has been behind the scenes to acquire hundreds of combat drones from Iran for use in its war against the Ukrainian military, which Tehran and Moscow deny.
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