Russian president Vladimir Putin arrived in Iran on Tuesday as part of a visit intended to deepen ties with regional powers in the context of efforts to undermine the United States and Europe following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The visit followed boasting from Kamal Kharazi, head of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, boasting that Iran had technical ability to manufacture a nuclear weapon.
In Putin’s second trip since the invasion began in February, Putin will hold talks with Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan about regional issues, including the conflict in Syria and the UN’s efforts to resume Ukrainian grain exports.
Following the imposition of Western sanctions on both countries, Russia and Iran have strengthened their ties, including exploring military and trade cooperation.
Russian officials visited an air field in central Iran at least twice to review Iranian drones for possible use in Ukraine, according to the White House.
The opportunity for discussions with Erdogan is particularly important to Russia, given Turkey’s efforts to broker peace talks with Ukraine and as a key partner to unblock Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea.
Putin’s visit also follows US president Biden’s visit to Israel and Saudi Arabia, both of which are Tehran’s primary rivals in the region.