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Vladimir Putin in Tehran for summit with Iran’s leader

Russia and Iran will discuss nuclear cooperation and breaking the monopoly of the US dollar, among other issues

(Al-Monitor) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has come to Tehran on a trip that has attracted the attention of Iranian media and has been covered as the top story online and on the front pages of newspapers worldwide.

Labeling Putin the “new czar of Russia,” the Reformist Shargh daily wrote Nov. 1, “Perhaps Putin owes this [title] to getting his country out of a situation that resembles to many Russians the turbulence of the 1990s and reviving Russia as a superpower in the world.”

Mentioning Putin’s trip to Iran, Shargh wrote, “He is the guest of Tehran for the third time, along with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. Although Putin’s [trip] has been announced as part of the trilateral summit in Tehran, the Republic of Azerbaijan and Moscow, it is undoubtedly an important point in the relationship between the two countries.”

Shargh continued, “Not long ago the Tehran-Moscow relationship was not very good; meanwhile, under the presidency of Hassan Rouhani, the two presidents have met each other nine times.”

The daily Reformist Etemaad reported Nov. 1 that Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia-Pacific Affairs Ebrahim Rahimpour described Putin’s trip to Tehran as a message to US President Donald Trump, who is seen as trying to kill the nuclear deal that was achieved in 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 (United States, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany).

“This summit is more than just a simple meeting, because despite the matter of the bilateral ties and regional cooperation of our countries, it sends the message to the Americans that in spite of the statements and positions of the White House officials, the regional countries are seeking to develop their relationships and cooperation with each other,” Rahimpour said.

Noting the tensions between Arab countries of the Persian Gulf and Iran, Rahimpour added, “On the other hand, the Tehran summit is a positive signal to our southern neighboring countries that haven’t chosen negotiation and dialogue with their powerful northern neighbor [Iran].”

Mentioning potential details of Putin’s meeting with the Iranian supreme leader, Rahimpour added, “The Russian president’s meetings in Tehran with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Rouhani take in a wide range of big issues and mutual interests including the international and regional cooperation of the two neighboring countries, especially in the Middle East and the Caspian region, the fight against terrorism and extremism, as well as bilateral cooperation and economic relations in the energy, investment, transportation and transit, industry, commerce and tourism, and science and technology sectors.

He continued, “It seems that the development of economic relations and the Syrian issue and the fight against terrorism, while also supporting the full implementation of the JCPOA, are among the main issues [to be discussed] in the talks between the two sides.”

Meanwhile, the ultra-conservative daily Javan said Putin and Iranian leaders will discuss their future roles in the post-Islamic State (IS) era of Syria.

Javan reported Nov. 1, “With the defeat of IS in Syria looming, Putin’s trip will be affected by strategic aspects of the cooperation between Tehran and Moscow.”

Javan continued, “The two sides will cooperate over the new security order in Syria — the order that has worried the Zionist regime during the last months. According to security sources, Israelis are vehemently concerned about the presence of Iran in Syria after IS and have conveyed their concerns to the Russians a few times.”

In an interview Nov. 1 with the government-run daily newspaper Iran, Iran’s former ambassador to Azerbaijan, Afshar Soleimani, discussed the importance of the Tehran summit, saying, “[An intrinsic importance] of the meeting is Russia’s turning away from its previous policies and its [current] desire to involve Iran in the issues of the Central Asian region and the cooperation of the Commonwealth [of Independent States] countries.”

In his meeting with Putin, Khamenei suggested “eliminating the dollar and replacing it with national currencies in transactions.” Mentioning Iran-Russia joint cooperation in Syria, Khamenei said Nov. 1, “Results from this cooperation prove that Tehran and Moscow can achieve common goals in difficult arenas.”

Putin, noting his discussion with Rouhani over Iran’s nuclear program and the Syrian issue, said at a press conference Nov. 1, “Our cooperation with Iran, especially on the Syrian issue, is very fruitful, and through our cooperation with Iran and Turkey, the fight against terrorism in Syria is going well.”

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