Putin travels to Tehran for talks with leaders of Iran and Turkey

But all countries, despite their longstanding rivalries, could agree to move closer to countering Iran, which has advanced rapidly on its nuclear program since former President Donald Trump abandoned Tehran’s atomic deal with world powers and reimposed crushing sanctions. Talks to reinstate the deal have reached an impasse. On his trip, Biden said he would be willing to use military force against Iran as a last resort.

Cornered by the West and its regional rivals, the Iranian government is ramping up uranium enrichment, cracking down on dissent and grabbing headlines with hard-line, optimistic stances aimed at preventing the Iranian currency, the rial, from crashing. With no sanctions relief in sight, Iran’s tactical partnership with Russia has become one of survival, even as Moscow appears to be undermining Tehran in the black-market oil trade.

“Iran is (the) center of dynamic diplomacy,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian wrote on Twitter, adding that the meetings “will develop economic cooperation, focus on the security of the region through a solution policy… and ensure food security.”

Fadahossein Maleki, a member of the Iranian parliament’s influential foreign policy and national security committee, described Russia as Iran’s “most strategic partner” on Monday. His comments belied decades of animosity stemming from Russia’s occupation of Iran during World War II and its refusal to leave afterwards.

Putin’s foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov called Iran “an important partner for Russia” at a briefing on Monday, saying the countries shared “a desire to take their relations to a new level of strategic partnership.”

On his fifth visit to Tehran, Putin will meet Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, with whom he has a “confidence dialogue,” Ushakov said. He will also hold talks with President Raisi on issues including the Tehran nuclear deal, to which Russia is a key signatory. The leaders met in Moscow in January and again last month in Turkmenistan.

The focus of the talks between the three presidents will be the decade-long conflict in Syria, where Iran and Russia have backed the government of President Bashar Assad while Turkey has backed armed opposition factions. Russia intervened in the conflict in 2015, joining forces with Lebanese Hezbollah militants and Iranian forces and using its air power to prop up Assad’s fledgling army and ultimately turn the tide in his favor.

Ushakov said the sides will discuss efforts to encourage a political settlement, while Erdogan is expected to take up Turkey’s threats of a new military offensive in northern Syria to drive US-backed Syrian Kurdish fighters from its borders. The operation is part of Turkey’s plans to create a safe zone along its border with Syria that would encourage the voluntary return of Syrian refugees.

Russia is firmly opposed to the planned Turkish incursion, Ushakov stressed. Humanitarian problems in Syria have also been in the spotlight since Russia used its veto power in the UN Security Council last week to force a restriction on aid deliveries to 4.1 million people in northwestern Syria. Rebel-controlled Syria after six months, instead of a year.

Talks to lift the Russian blockade and bring Ukrainian grain to global markets will also be on the agenda. Last week, officials from the UN, Russia, Ukraine and Turkey reached a tentative agreement on some aspects of a deal to guarantee the export of 22 million tons of desperately needed grain and other agricultural products stuck in seaports. Ukrainian black by fighting.

Tuesday’s meeting between Putin and Erdogan could help clear remaining hurdles, an important step in easing a food crisis that has sent prices soaring for vital staples like wheat and barley.

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