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Russian president Vladimir Putin visits Iran as he tries to shore up support as part of challenge to the West

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Russia's president Vladimir Putin meeting with Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran in 2015. Photo: Reuters

Russia's president Vladimir Putin meeting with Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran in 2015. Photo: Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meet in Tehran, Iran July 19, 2022. Turkish Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meet in Tehran, Iran July 19, 2022. Turkish Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

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Russia's president Vladimir Putin meeting with Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran in 2015. Photo: Reuters

Russian president Vladimir Putin arrived in Iran yesterday in an effort to deepen ties with regional heavyweights as part of Moscow’s challenge to the US and Europe.

In only his second trip abroad since Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine in February, Putin is scheduled to hold talks with Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan about issues facing the region, including the conflict in Syria and a UN-backed proposal to resume exports of Ukrainian grain.


Putin is seeking to bolster ties with Tehran, a fellow target of US sanctions.

In recent weeks, Russian officials visited an airfield in central Iran to review Tehran’s weapons-capable drones for possible use in Ukraine, the White House has alleged.

The Tehran trip offers Putin a chance for a high-stakes meeting with Erdogan, who has sought to help broker talks on a peaceful settlement of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as well as help negotiations to unblock Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea.

Nato member Turkey has not imposed sanctions on the Kremlin.

The gathering shows off Russia’s international clout to its internal audience even as it grows increasingly isolated and plunges deeper into confrontation with the West.

It comes just days after US president Joe Biden’s visited Israel and Saudi Arabia – Tehran’s primary rivals.

Mr Biden urged Israel and Arab countries to push back on Russian, Chinese and Iranian influence that has expanded in the region.

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“Iran is (the) centre of dynamic diplomacy,” Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian wrote on Twitter, adding the meetings will “develop economic cooperation, focus on security of the region ... and ensure food security”.

Fadahossein Maleki, a member of the Iranian parliament’s influential committee on national security and foreign policy, described Russia as Iran’s “most strategic partner”.

His comments belied decades of animosity stemming from Russia’s occupation of Iran during World War II and its refusal to leave afterwards.

In his fifth visit to Tehran, Putin will meet Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, with whom he has a “trusting dialogue,” Putin’s foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov said.

He will also hold talks with President Raisi on issues including Tehran’s nuclear deal, of which Russia is a key signatory.

The focus of the talks among the three presidents will be the decade-old conflict in Syria, where Iran and Russia have backed President Bashar al-Assad’s government, while Turkey has supported armed opposition factions.


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