Putin visits Iran, seeking economic partnerships
Russian President Vladimir Putin will travel to Iran on Tuesday where he will meet Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as Russia seeks to develop economic partnerships after the West imposed harsh sanctions on it. The trip will be the Russian leader’s second trip abroad since he launched what he describes as a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24.
Vladimir Putin considers the sanctions imposed by Western countries against Russia, the toughest that a country has experienced in modern history, to represent a declaration of economic war, and has asserted that Moscow is now turning away from the West to the benefit of countries like China, India or Iran.
“Contacts with Ali Khamenei are very important,” Kremlin adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters. “A confident dialogue has developed between (Vladimir Putin and Ali Khamenei) on the most crucial issues.” “On most of these issues, our positions are close or identical.”
Meeting with Erdogan
Vladimir Putin’s visit to Iran will coincide with that of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the two heads of state will meet in Tehran to discuss an agreement to restore grain exports to the Black Sea. They are also expected to address the situation in Syria, as Ankara recently signaled its intention to launch an offensive against the Syrian Kurds who control a long swath of territory along its border.
Russia and Iran are crucial allies of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, while Turkey supports part of the opposition in the province of Idlib, in the north-west of the country.
EU prepares more sanctions against Moscow
In Brussels, EU foreign ministers met yesterday, Monday July 18, and they reaffirmed their willingness to increase pressure on Moscow with new measures, including an embargo on gold purchases from Russia , despite the threat of a disruption of Russian gas supplies. The head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell called on the Europeans to “hold on”. “European societies cannot afford to be tired,” he said, referring to inflation hitting hard on the wallets of European households, whether in energy prices or those of foodstuffs. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday that the European sanctions imposed on Russia were “a mistake”, because they have “not achieved their goal” and are suffocating the European economy. Vladimir Putin acknowledged on Monday for his part the serious difficulties posed by the “blocking” of Russia’s “almost total” access to high Western technologies on which it is dependent: “(…) we will seek intensively and intelligently to new solutions,” he said. (with AFP)
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