Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, departed Russia on Tuesday for a rare foreign trip, and earned a lucrative reward: an endorsement of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine from a high-ranking global leader.
While in Iran, Vladimir Putin attempted to strengthen the partnership between Iran and Russia that has emerged as a crucial counterbalance to American attempts to control Western enemies. He met with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, who gave a pledge of support for Mr. Putin’s war in Ukraine of the type that even other nations close to Russia have so far failed to make.
Putin was warned by Mr. Khamenei that “the Islamic Republic is not pleased that people are caught up in conflict,” according to the office of the Supreme Leader. If you hadn’t stepped in, the other side would have and started a war in Ukraine.”
The day’s symphony highlighted Mr. Putin’s resolve to resist efforts to penalise and isolate Russia, interacting with other American rivals like Iran and with other nations like Turkey, a NATO member, whose connections are more convoluted.
Vladimir Putin’s argument that the West had left Russia with no option but to take action was embraced by Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a major Russian ally.
There is hope that Russia and Iran’s long-suffering relationship may finally be turning into a meaningful collaboration now that Europe and the United States have imposed sanctions equivalent to those Iran has faced for years.
Iran’s director for the International Crisis Group, Ali Vaez, stated, “Russia and Iran still don’t trust one another, but now they need one other more than before.” It is no longer an option, but a need, to join forces with each other.
Even though Russia and Iran had an antagonistic relationship with the United States, the two nations were able to work together militarily once Russia intervened in Syria’s civil war. Iran was not an option because of Putin’s efforts to establish ties with Israel and the Arab world.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine, however, altered the equation.
Russia, which is becoming more shut off from Western markets, is turning to Iran as an economic partner and for experience in avoiding sanctions.
Energy giant Gazprom inked a nonbinding $40 billion pact to assist develop gas and oil reserves in Iran, Iranian newspapers said. A topic not brought up during Tuesday’s conversations between Russian and American officials is the possibility that Russia is attempting to purchase vital combat drones from Iran for use over Ukraine.
Prior to Mr. Putin arriving in Iran, the Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitri S. Peskov, told an Iranian channel that Russia and Iran may soon sign a treaty on strategic cooperation that would increase their banking and financial coordination. According to him, this would be the beginning of a new age of friendship between Tehran and Moscow, similar in style to the diplomatic relations that existed between Russia and Persia in the 16th century.
As Russia’s relations with the West deteriorated, the two nations began courting each other before the conflict erupted on February 24. Mr. Raisi, Iran’s president, travelled to Moscow in January. The two men reconnected during a regional forum in Turkmenistan last month, when Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to solidify support from Caspian Sea nations.
On Tuesday, Putin told Mr. Raisi that bilateral ties in economics, security, and regional issues were “growing at a healthy rate” as they met for the third time this year. According to him and Raisi, they had decided to expand cooperation in energy, industry and transportation as well as utilise national currencies rather than the US dollar to denominate their transactions in the future, he added.
In a similar way, Mr. Raisi struck a chord of his own.
According to a transcript provided by the Kremlin, he informed Putin that “everything is expanding extremely swiftly, including our bilateral ties.”
It was said that “long-term collaboration between Iran and Russia is fundamentally advantageous for both countries” and that outstanding contracts between the two nations, particularly those for gas and oil exploration, should be completed as soon as possible.
Russia’s supreme leader labelled the NATO alliance a “dangerous organisation” and reaffirmed Vladimir Putin’s allegation that the West was ready to launch a war with Russia to assist Ukraine retake the peninsula of Crimea, which Russia seized in 2014 despite international opposition.
Other nations have been compelled to reevaluate their ties as a result of the conflict in Ukraine. In the face of soaring oil prices, President Biden came to Saudi Arabia last week and gave Mohammed bin Salman a fist bump. He had previously pledged to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” country following the death of a dissident there.