The Iranian president visits Moscow and considers this a “turning point” in relations with Russia

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said that his visit to Russia, which he started today, Wednesday, during which he will meet with his counterpart Vladimir Putin, will constitute a “turning point” in Tehran-Moscow relations, and will enhance regional cooperation in the face of “unilateralism”.

Raisi made his statements from Mehrabad Airport in Tehran, where a farewell ceremony was held for him, according to what was shown by the official channel.

This is the first time since 2017, that an Iranian president has visited Russia, which has political, economic and military ties with Tehran.

At the invitation of Putin, the two presidents will visit Russia for two days and will address the Duma on Thursday.

On Tuesday, the Kremlin announced that the two sides would discuss “a range of issues related to bilateral cooperation”, including the 2015 nuclear deal.

This is the third visit of the president outside the country since he took office in August, but it is the most important in terms of importance, and he is accompanied by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Economy and Oil.

The visit comes as Iran and major powers, including Russia, are holding talks to revive the agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program.

“This visit can constitute a turning point for improving and strengthening the level of relations with Russia,” Raisi said from the airport.

He added, “The current level of cooperation is not satisfactory for the two countries, and it must be raised to a higher level. I hope that this trip will be an effective step towards ensuring the common interests between the two influential countries on the regional and international arenas.”

Reviving the nuclear deal

Iran and the countries that are still party to the nuclear agreement (France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China) are engaged in talks in Vienna with the aim of reviving the 2015 agreement, from which the United States unilaterally withdrew in 2018, while Washington participates indirectly in it.

Tehran stresses the priority of lifting the sanctions that Washington re-imposed on it after its withdrawal from the agreement, and obtaining guarantees that the US withdrawal will not be repeated.

In contrast, the United States focuses on the importance of Iran’s return to fully respecting its obligations under the agreement.

Russia recently announced progress, knowing that it had previously stressed the need to lift US sanctions.

The interests of Russia and Iran overlap in several files, such as the nuclear agreement and the situation in the region. They are also the most prominent supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the ongoing conflict in his country since 2011.

Raisi’s predecessor, Hassan Rouhani, was the last Iranian president to visit Russia, in March 2017. For his part, Putin visited Tehran for the last time in November of the same year to participate in a conference of gas exporting countries, two years after his official visit for Iran.

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