By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday made a rare international trip to Tehran on for a three-way summit with Iranian and Turkish leaders.
Putin arrived at around 5:00 p.m. local time and has meetings scheduled late into the evening with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.
This is his first trip outside the former Soviet Union since the war with Ukraine began in February.
Putin visited the former Soviet states of Tajikistan and Turkmenistan last month.
According to The New York Times, Russia and Iran hope to forge closer economic ties in order to mitigate the damage caused by the economic sanctions the United States has imposed on both countries.
Kremlin foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov said that “[o]n most issues” the two countries’ “positions are close or identical,” while Iranian news site Fararu warned that “the more aggressive the U.S. gets in confronting Iran, the closer we will get to Russia.”
Putin may also be hoping to purchase Iranian military drones to be used in his campaign against Ukraine.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will join Putin and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to discuss the situation in Syria as he plans a new military incursion into the unstable country. All three nations have intervened in Syria’s ongoing civil war.
Russia, Iran, and Turkey — formerly the Ottoman Empire — have a long history as regional rivals, fighting at least two dozen wars between the 16th and 20th centuries. “Many of today’s countries didn’t even exist back then,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said.