Putin Visits Iran on First Foreign Trip Amid Ukraine War

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Iran on his first trip outside his country since the invasion of Ukraine.

Mr. Putin was set to meet Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as the former Soviet Union seeks to bolster its few international alliances amid widespread condemnation and forceful actions by Western governments in response to the attack on its neighboring country.

He also met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“I am very pleased to be on the hospitable Iranian soil…We can boast about record figures in terms of trade growth,” Mr. Putin added.

After the Kremlin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, Western leaders imposed several sanctions against Moscow.

The Russian president says such moves are an economic war declaration against the nation. Therefore, his government has focused on its international diplomacy efforts with its allies – China, Iran, and India.

His visit to Tehran, the Iranian capital, marked his second trip outside Russia since the invasion of Ukraine, as he traveled to Beijing in February.

“The contact with Khamenei is very important. A trusting dialogue has developed between them on the most important issues on the bilateral and international agenda,” said Yuri Ushakov, Mr. Putin’s foreign policy adviser.

In a bilateral meeting with Mr. Raisi, the Russian leader said his government was committed to security cooperation between Iran and Russia.

“We are strengthening our cooperation on international security issues, making a significant contribution to the settlement of the Syrian conflict,” he stated.

Khamenei highlighted the mutual cooperation between the two countries, saying that it was “deeply beneficial” and stating that the world events proved the two nations needed each other.

Meanwhile, the Iranian national oil corporation struck a $40 billion agreement with Russia’s government-run gas business, Gazprom, according to a report from Shana, the news office for the Iranian oil ministry.

The agreement calls for the expansion of Iranian gas fields and the construction of fresh gas export pipelines.

The moves occurred after US allegations that Iran transferred drones to Russia for use in the conflict in Ukraine.

In a Friday phone chat with his Ukrainian counterpart, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian denied such allegations.

However, Kiumars Heydari, the commander of Iran’s ground forces, told the student-run news organization Young Journalists Club (YJC) Tuesday that the country has already prepared to export military hardware and weaponry.