Iran called for strengthening long-standing cooperation with Russia during a presidential summit uniting them with Turkey in Tehran, as Ankara sought Russian-Iranian support for an expected military operation in northern Syria.
During his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei praised the “long-term cooperation” between Iran and Russia, calling for its strengthening between the two countries, which are under Western sanctions.
Khamenei said in a statement posted on his website that “long-term cooperation between Iran and Russia will be deeply beneficial to both countries.”
“There are many understandings and agreements between the two countries, including in the oil and gas sectors, which should be fully followed and implemented,” he pointed out.
A presidential summit will be held in Iran, with Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi joining his Turkish counterparts, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Putin, in the first tripartite meeting at the level of presidents since 2019 within the framework of the “Astana Peace Process” to end the Syrian conflict that has erupted since 2011.
Putin’s visit to Tehran comes days after US President Joe Biden visited the region, in which he insisted his country would not leave a vacuum in the Middle East to be filled by its rivals Russia, China and Iran.
The presidential summit in the Iranian capital revolves around the Syrian file, amid hints of an imminent Turkish offensive.
Erdogan said his country relied on the support of Russia and Iran in “countering terrorism” in Syria, noting that “talk is not enough.”
“What we expect from Russia and Iran is their support in countering terrorism,” he said, threatening to launch a military operation two months ago after listing key Kurdish factions operating in northeastern Syria along the Turkish border.
Khamenei, who has the final say on the country’s top policies, told Erdogan that Ankara’s potential operation in northern Syria would be “harmful” to various countries in the region.
“It will harm Syria, it will harm Turkey, and it will harm the region,” Khamenei said, according to a statement posted on his website.
Russia, Iran and Turkey have all played key roles in the Syrian conflict since its outbreak. Moscow and Tehran backed President Bashar al-Assad, leading to a shift in the equation on the ground in favor of his forces, while Turkey supported opposition factions.
On the other hand, Putin spoke about the progress in the negotiations on the export of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea and thanked Erdogan during the meeting in Tehran.
“I would like to thank you for your mediation efforts in recommending Turkey as a platform for negotiations on food production issues and grain exports via the Black Sea,” Putin told Erdogan in comments cited by the Kremlin. Report.
“Thanks to your mediation, we have made progress. Not all issues are resolved yet, that’s true, but there is movement, which is good,” he added.
On Friday, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that a “final document” to allow grain exports from Ukraine would be ready soon.
During Tuesday’s meeting with Erdogan, Putin also discussed “many issues” related to resolving the conflict in Syria and “another important issue” related to resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“We have a very difficult agenda and I am very happy to see you,” Putin told Erdogan.