Russian President Vladimir Putin departed from Moscow on Tuesday for the first time since he invaded Ukraine in February. He will be visiting Iran for a meeting with the Islamic Regime’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali al-Khamenei.
Their meeting comes just one week after White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that US intelligence reported that Tehran wants to sell “several hundred” drones to the Kremlin. The sale includes drones that are capable of weapons strikes that can be used against Ukraine. Russia’s military is scheduled to train with them as early as this month.
”The contact with Khamenei is very important,” Yuri Ushakov, Putin’s foreign policy adviser, told reporters in Moscow. “A trusting dialogue has developed between them on the most important issues on the bilateral and international agenda.”
“On most issues, our positions are close or identical,” he added.
Putin has only left Russia once before invading Ukraine on Feb. 24. He flew to the former Soviet republics of Turkmenistan and Tajikistan in June. However, his last significant trip abroad happened several days before the Ukraine conflict, when he attended the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Putin’s visit to the Middle East comes on the heels President Biden’s four-day visit to Israel, Judea and Samaria and Saudi Arabia last week. During his visit, Biden he assured Israel that the US would never allow Tehran to develop a nuclear weapon.
Currently, Biden is trying to convince Iran to rejoin the dormant 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal that was brokered by five other countries — including Russia.
The summit has been put on hold since March. Since then, Iran has turnedvoff surveillance cameras placed in its nuclear compunds by international inspectors. The Islamic Republic currrently has enough high-enriched uranium to form into at least one nuclear bomb.
Putin’s visit to Iran coincides with a trip to the Islamic Republic by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The two are scheduled to meet to discuss an arrangement geared towards resuming Ukraine’s grain exports to the Black Sea, and Erdogan’s threat to invade Kurdistan in northern Syria as part of the country’s ongoing civil war.
Putin and Erdogan are scheduled to meet with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. In the past, Raisi warned that any Turkish military action in Syria will “destabilize the region.”