Tue, 17 May 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin has met his Iranian counterpart, Ebrahim Raisi, in Moscow amid international negotiations aimed at reviving a landmark nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

Raisi, a conservative cleric elected last year, said on January 19 that he had presented Moscow with draft documents on strategic cooperation between the two countries for the next two decades. Raisi said Iran had 'no limits for expanding ties with Russia.'

Moscow and Tehran have strong political, economic, and military ties and are key allies of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's decade-long civil war.

Putin hailed the two countries' cooperation on international issues, including the Syrian conflict.

Ahead of the meeting, a Kremlin statement said the presidents will discuss a wide range of issues, including the 2015 nuclear agreement that lifted crippling Western economic sanctions in exchange for curbing Tehran's nuclear program.

The 2015 nuclear deal began to unravel in 2018 after then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States and reimposed sanctions, prompting Tehran to walk back on its commitments.

Since last year, Iran has been in talks with the other signatories of the accord -- France, Britain, Russia, China, and Germany -- to restore the deal, but the negotiations were suspended for around five months following Raisi's election.

The main aims of the talks, which were relaunched in November, are to get the United States to return to the deal and lift its sanctions, and for Iran to resume full compliance. Washington has not been participating directly in the talks because of Iran's refusal to meet face-to-face with U.S. representatives.

The two-day state visit is Raisi's third official trip outside Iran -- after Tajikistan and neighboring Turkmenistan -- since he took over the presidency in August 2021, and the first trip by an Iranian president to Russia since 2017.

With reporting by AFP and AP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Washington DC 20036

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