Russia and Iran signed two-sided agreements

Russia and Iran signed a string of bilateral agreements on Tuesday, as President Vladimir Putin hosted his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani for his first official visit to Moscow, AFP reports.

The meeting between Putin and Rouhani, who have grown closer through their mutual support of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, mostly focused on flourishing economic ties in the fields of energy and industry.

Putin said in televised comments after the meeting that trade between the countries had “grown more than 70 percent” last year.

“This is truly a good result considering that it was achieved in unstable global conditions and amid persistent volatility on the commodity and currency markets,” Putin added, according to AFP.

A joint statement published by the Kremlin said that “special attention” had been paid to cooperation in energy, with both sides pledging to continue efforts to stabilize the international market.

In addition to cooperation on Syria, energy and defense ties have deepened between Iran and Russia in recent years.

The main transaction between the two countries was the sale of the advanced S-300 air defense system.

Putin signed a decree in 2015 lifting a ban on the delivery of the S-300 to Iran, explaining that his decision was motivated by Iran’s drive to find a solution in talks over its nuclear program.

While the sale had been repeatedly delayed due to Western pressure, Iran recently declared the system operational.

In addition, Russia is to build nine of Iran’s 20 proposed nuclear reactors.

Rouhani’s meeting with Putin follows Israel’s recent expression of concern that Iran is deepening its hold on Syria, possibly in cooperation with Russia.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has visited Russia several times recently, in an attempt to coordinate the IDF’s activities in the region with Putin. Israel and Russia in 2015 formed a joint mechanism to coordinate military operations in Syria, and in particular concerning the use of Syrian airspace.

Despite this joint mechanism, Russia summoned Israel’s Ambassador for clarifications following recent Israeli airstrikes in Syria which targeted a shipment of weapons meant for Hezbollah.

While Putin and Rouhani discussed the situation in Syria, it is unknown whether Putin brought up Israel’s concerns at the meeting.


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