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Putin Forges Deals In Iran After Biden Blows Middle East Trip


Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Tehran on Tuesday for a summit with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts in a move that may forge ties in opposition to the Western anti-Russia bloc, Reuters reported.

The trip was Putin’s first outside of the former Soviet states since invading Ukraine in February, according to Reuters. It comes after U.S. President Joe Biden traveled to Israel and Saudi Arabia from Thursday to Saturday, where he sought to reinforce regional security cooperation aimed at containing Iran’s nuclear threat.

“Considering the evolving geopolitical ties after the Ukraine war, Tehran tries to secure Moscow’s support in its confrontation with Washington and its regional allies,” a senior Iranian official told Reuters.

Putin met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Tuesday evening, discussing trade and energy issues as well as “regional developments,” according to a statement from the Iranian President’s office. The leaders then met with Iran’s Supreme Leader, but the contents of their conversation was not disclosed.

Putin announced his visit to Iran on July 12, as Biden was preparing to visit the Middle East, the Associated Press reported. Western nations seek to isolate Russia in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine, actions that have seen Russia deepen economic ties with China.

“In light of the invasion of Ukraine, isolation from the West, sanctions, maintaining that influence if not expanding it is becoming even more important for Russian foreign policy,” Hanna Notte, a senior research associate at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, told The Wall Street Journal Sunday.

Russian state oil giant Gazprom and the National Iranian Oil Company signed a $40 billion energy cooperation agreement to develop Iranian gas fields just ahead of Putin’s visit Tuesday, Shana, a news agency run by Iran’s oil ministry, reported.

“The contact with Khamenei is very important,” Yuri Ushakov, Putin’s foreign policy adviser, said, according to Reuters. “A trusting dialog has developed between them on the most important issues on the bilateral and international agenda.”

Competition between Russia and Iran, both major exporters of petroleum products, for Asian markets has increased since Putin heavily restricted natural gas flows to Europe in response to sanctions, Reuters reported.

At the summit, Putin, Turkish President Recit Tayyip Erdogan and Khamenei will also discuss coordinated military operations in Syria, where Turkey is at odds with Russia and Iran’s support for the Assad regime, Reuters reported.

Putin reportedly discussed a UN-backed plan to ease Russia’s blockade on Ukrainian grain exports in the Black Sea, mediated by the UN and Turkey, the Financial Times reported.

While Russia has agreed not to attack cargo ships and to jointly monitor Ukrainian vessels traveling between ports in Odessa and control centers in Istanbul and the Black Sea, obstacles remain before a deal can be finalized, anonymous sources told the Financial Times. The blockade, which Russia instigated in an attempt to capture Ukraine’s coastal cities, has cut off much of the world’s grain supply and contributed to a global food crisis, according to ABC News.

The Iranian foreign ministry and the Turkish president’s office did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment. The Russian president’s office could not be reached for comment.

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