A meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei took place in Tehran,  marking the first diplomatic trip by the Kremlin Chief outside of Russia since the invasion of Ukraine. Tehran’s Khamenei believes that building ties with Russia is a way for Tehran to balance the power of the US and its allies across the Gulf with Arab regimes and Israel. This is important to Tehran because of the geopolitical situation in the region.

“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,” said a senior Iranian official, who asked for anonymity.

Before the trip, Dmitry Peskov stated that sanctions imposed by the West on Russia and Iran had been in place for a long time and that this was the “price” that they paid for their sovereignty. However, Tehran is wagering that with Russia’s help, it may persuade Washington to provide “concessions” to revive a nuclear deal reached in 2015 whose signatory countries include the five superpower countries like the US, UK, France, and China, Russia, and Germany. Tehran’s confidence resulted from the recent rise in oil prices triggered by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Putin’s visit to Iran will follow a series of talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The two leaders will meet in Tehran to discuss an agreement to continue grain exports in Ukraine’s the Black Sea and Erdogan’s danger of launching another activity in northern Syria, which Moscow abhors. Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Western nations have regularly called for President Bashar al-Assad to be removed from power. Russia and Iran, however, have been successful in their efforts to keep Assad in force in Syria. During the meeting, Putin, Erdogan, and President Ebrahim Raisi discussed how to lessen the conflict in Syria. The leaders were showing their dedication to help “normalize” the situation in Syria after it had been at war for a decade. 

“We agreed with our Iranian and Turkish colleagues to continue the practice of holding regular international expert consultations on Syria under the auspices of the Astana format. Along with the delegations of our three countries, Syrian parties take part in these consultations: the government and the opposition, the observer states – Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon, as well as the UN representatives,” said the Kremlin chief.