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Putin Visits Tehran, Indicating New, Transformed Relationship

July 19, 2022 (EIRNS)—Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Iran today, for a meeting of the Astana format of guarantors Russia, Iran, and Turkey for peace in Syria, but the evidence points to a much larger shift underway. This is the fourth time Putin has visited Iran in seven years, and as Iran has been isolated from the Western-dominated financial system for decades, it is only natural that the two develop stronger relations now that Russia has become a victim of the same kind of sanctions. That does not necessarily draw two nations together itself, but the two leaders clearly referenced it during their meetings, pointing in the direction of a potential friendship for nations wishing to be sovereign.

Putin met with Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and, according to Iran’s PressTV, “Ayatollah Khamenei stated that Western countries resolutely oppose a strong and independent Russia, adding that if NATO had not been stopped in Ukraine, it would have started the same war using Crimea as a pretext.” Further he said that “the U.S. and West have become weaker than before, adding that despite great efforts and spending, ‘their policies in regional countries, including Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine, are being less effective,’ ” the article states.

A common theme in the visit was the growing economic and trade relations, epitomized by the mammoth gas and oil deal signed between the two presidents. Khamenei spoke about the importance of the oil and gas agreement, finishing the North-South Transport Corridor rail project, and his view that the U.S. dollar “should be gradually removed from global transactions.”

Putin also met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, whose office reported that, “the two sides expressed their satisfaction with the leap in bilateral relations, especially in the fields of economy, security, infrastructure, energy, trade and industry, and expressed their determination for the continuation of this path and its strengthening.” They reportedly also discussed the intent to strengthen cooperation in the region, as well as in extra-regional fields. This includes efforts to strengthen the security of other independent countries in the region. There was a special emphasis on the conflict in Syria and counter-terrorism (the subject of the “Astana meeting”), and according to PressTV, “the Iranian President said successful cooperation between the two countries in the fight against terrorism in Syria has prepared the ground for promoting security and stability in the region.” Further, “Raisi said Tehran and Moscow are remarkably determined to expand relations, and that cooperation between the two sides should continue to grow,” according to PressTV.

The New York Times also reports that a Kremlin spokesman told an Iranian broadcaster ahead of Putin’s visit that the two nations are looking to sign a treaty of full strategic cooperation soon, bringing them even closer together.

The “Astana meeting” included President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey who traveled to Iran as well, and was the seventh summit since the group was founded in 2015 in the capital of Kazakhstan. President Raisi said that the Astana process has had “good achievements” so far, and that “the responsibility for its preservation and development rests primarily on us, friendly countries, as its guarantors.” Raisi also emphasized the need for a political settlement to the Syrian crisis, and one determined by its own people, saying, “With the passage of 11 years since the onset of crisis in Syria, the Islamic Republic still believes that the only solution to the crisis is a political one and that military solution only exacerbates the situation.” He further denounced U.S. sanctions for “compounding the pressure on the Syrian people.”

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