Leaders of Russia and Turkey arrived in Iran to meet Iranian officials, a move that shows Tehran’s strategic significance after recent international developments.
Only a few days after US President Joe Biden departed from the region, his Russian and Turkish counterparts traveled to Tehran to meet the Iranian Leader and President. Although the two leaders have been to Iran several times before, Tuesday’s visit was of special importance, especially with regard to the world’s latest political developments.
Speaking during his meeting with the Russian president, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Iran and Russia should strengthen their ties, blaming the West for the war in Ukraine; “If you did not take the initiative, the other side would have caused the war with its own initiative,” Khamenei told Putin.
Iran’s Supreme Leader further noted that the U.S. dollar “should be gradually taken off global trade, and this can be done gradually.” Approving his suggestion, Putin referred to the US misuse of the dollar as a tool to embargo and loot other countries; “Russia and Iran are designing new methods for using national currencies in the relations between the two countries,” the Russian president said.
With the start of the war in Ukraine, tensions between Russia and the West have reached their highest level, with NATO practically entering into a proxy war with Moscow. And now, the West is not giving up any economic and political effort to isolate the Kremlin. Putin’s visit to Tehran in the midst of the Ukraine war can therefore send a very clear message to Washington and Brussels that Russia is not at all isolated. But more than that, it demonstrates the strategic significance of Iran.
Iran still moving forward despite sanctions
For nearly four years after former President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran’s nuclear deal known as the JCPOA, the Islamic Republic has been grappling with the heaviest economic sanctions imposed largely by the United States. Back then, the Trump administration hoped that the policy of ‘maximum pressure’ could ultimately force decision-makers in Tehran to negotiates not only Iran’s nuclear program but its missile and drone capabilities.
Today, however, even American high-ranking officials admit that the Trump-era policy has failed and Iran is getting along with the sanctions quite well. The country has even boosted its nuclear program and increased its missile and UVA expertise. Iran’s army has been able to develop the most advanced UAVs, which are used in long-distance and cross-border reconnaissance, and combat operations. It has even announced readiness to export military equipment and weapons to Russia and friendly nations, according to the Iranian Army.
This is the second time that Vladimir Putin has left Russia since the beginning of the Ukraine war. Less than a month ago, he traveled to Ashgabat to participate in the summit of the Caspian Sea countries, and from there he went to Tajikistan. And Tuesday’s visit of one of the great powers of the world as well as Turkey to Tehran just shows the significant position that Iran has achieved in the international arena.
Iran and Russia have had close and expanding relations in the past years, and the anti-Western positions of both governments have created aligned interests between the two sides. However, it seems that the start of the war in Ukraine and the imposition of severe Western sanctions against Moscow have brought both countries closer in their anti-Western campaign. Iran, Russia, and Turkey also discussed the long-running war in Syria, with Erdogan saying that he expects support from Russia and Iran “in its fight against terrorism”.