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Putin arrives in Tehran, to discuss Syria and Ukraine with Iranian and Turkish counterparts

Russian President Vladimir Putin with Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi last month (Image courtesy: Kremlin.ru)

In what is his only second foreign trip since the launch of 'Special Military Operation' in Ukraine in February and the first beyond the territory of former Soviet states, Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Tehran on Tuesday to hold talks with the leaders of Iran and Turkey – not just on Syria, but also the ongoing conflict with Kyiv.

As leaders of the guarantor states of the Astana process to facilitate settlement in Syria, Putin, his Iranian counterpart Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will go into a huddle, focusing on further joint steps towards lasting peace and stability in the Syrian Republic.

"The discussion will focus on a set of measures aimed at finally eliminating the hotbed of international terrorism, advancing the intra-Syrian peace process and addressing humanitarian issues, including post-conflict reconstruction," the Kremlin said in a statement ahead of the meeting.

However, the world will also be closely watching the outcome of Putin's separate bilateral meetings with Raisi, Erdogan and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Erdogan has been in talks with Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the formation of secure corridors via the Black Sea for grain export.

Raisi, on the other hand, has cited the experience of cooperation with Russia in Syria and has been batting for more steps to benefit the two countries, as well as the region as a whole.

Russia-Iran trade grew by 81 percent last year and by another 31 percent in the first few months of 2022.

"Nothing stopped the development of our trade and economic ties, and nothing will stop them. Our will is that we will develop our bilateral ties. This is just a very clear message to our responsible officials that the decision we made in Moscow will, of course, be translated into practice," the Iranian President told Putin on the sidelines of the Caspian Summit, last month.

Erdogan, in his latest phone call with Putin on July 11, had stated that Ankara stands ready to provide all kinds of support for the revival of the negotiation process between Kyiv and Moscow.

Interestingly, Putin's visit to Tehran takes place just a couple of days after US President Joe Biden wrapped up his Middle East tour.

The White House also recently released satellite imagery, stating that an official Russian delegation had recently received a showcase of Iranian attack-capable UAVs, suggesting Moscow's interest in acquiring Iranian attack-capable UAVs.

"Russia is effectively making a bet on Iran, and we are making a bet on a more integrated, more stable, more peaceful and prosperous Middle East region," a senior Biden administration official said on Saturday.

Meanwhile, even as the geopolitical tensions rise in the region, Iran has asserted that it is gradually becoming the 'center of dynamic diplomacy', providing opportunity to further boost relations amongst the countries of the region.

"Upcoming meetings between Presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey in Tehran will provide opportunity to further boost relations and develop economic cooperation; focus on security of the region via political solution and not to resort to war; and to ensure food security. I.R. Iran is center of dynamic diplomacy," Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Twitter ahead of the trilateral meeting.

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