The visit of the Iranian president Raisi to Moscow “does not appear to be a breakthrough”

The nuclear power plant Bushehr is a symbol of Russian-Iranian technological cooperation in the last 3 decades. It is also a representative of the Iranian peaceful nuclear programme (source: YouTube)

The TASS correspondent in Tehran put the visit into the context of the Russian-Iranian relations of the last few years

On 19 January 2022 the Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi held a meeting in Moscow with the Russian president Vladimir Putin and on the next day he spoke before the State Duma (the lower chamber of the Russian parliament) and made a visit at the Cathedral Mosque in Moscow. The underlined text is written by Vladimir Mitev and is based on TASS reports and Iran.ru’ coverage about Ebrahim Raisi’s visit to Moscow. The title and the subtitle are written by the Persian Bridge of Friendship.


The Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi announced on Wednesday following talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow that his team has handed over to Moscow a draft agreement on strategic cooperation for a 20-year period

“We handed over to our Russian colleagues a document on strategic cooperation between our countries which can determine prospects for at least 20 years,” he said. According to the Iranian president, “the current level of trade and economic relations [between Iran and Russia] is not satisfactory.” “We can increase the level of our trade and economic cooperation by several times,” he added.

“It is very important for me to know your position on the JCPoA [the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Iran nuclear deal],” the Russian president Vladimir Putin said.

Greeting his counterpart and mentioning the points of contact with Tehran, Putin said that as an observer, Iran is an active participant in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). He added that Iran’s relations with the Eurasian Economic Union are developing based on the interim agreement.

“We are doing active work to establish a free trade zone between Iran and our assembly,” the Russian president added.

On the second day of the Raisi’s visit further diplomatic platitudes were offered. The Iranian foreign minister Amir Abdollahian said that the relations between Iran and Russia become strategic. The Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi forecasted the break-up of NATO. Raisi also said that his country is not interested in developing nuclear weapons. He agreed to a Russian initiative for meeting of the parliament speakers of Russia, China, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. 

The press secretary of the Russian president Vladimir Putin – Dmitrii Peskov, refused to comment informations about possible Russian credit towards Iran, which Teheran could use for buying Russian weaponry. On 21 January 2022 Russia, China and Iran start joint military exercises in the Indian ocean.

The Iranian Oil Minister Javid Ouji said that important agreements and documents had been signed with Russian officials and companies, the results of which the Iranians would soon see. Apparently they deal with the participation of Russian companies in the Iranian oil and gas sector.

“It was made clear to the Russian side that the determination of Iran and the Oil Ministry is to make relations strong and continuous, he said, referring to the sanctions imposed on Tehran and Moscow. 

The meeting focused on expanding economic ties, removing banking customs and infrastructure barriers, strengthening oil and energy cooperation between Tehran and Moscow, and joint investments in energy infrastructure projects.”, reports Iran.ru


The text, which follows, was published initially as a Facebook post by Nikita Smagin – TASS’ correspondent to Tehran and is republished here with his consent. The Facebook post was published a few hourse before the meeting of Ebrahim Raisi and Vladimir Putin.

Ebrahim Raisi is scheduled to meet with Vladimir Putin on 19 January 2022. On 20 January 2022, the Iranian politician will address the State Duma, as well as the Cathedral Mosque in Moscow.

Raisi’s visit does not appear to be a breakthrough and is unlikely to bring relations between the two countries to a new level. The Iranian side states frankly that no agreements will be signed during the visit. 

It is not without regret, because one of Tehran’s key initiatives today is to conclude long-term cooperation agreements with friendly countries. A relevant agreement for 25 years was signed with China under Rouhani, and Turkey is next in line. With Russia Iran also hoped to sign an agreement for 20 years, but so far, it seems, the parties have not been able to agree on the terms.

Moscow has a number of questions for Iran. For example, Tehran’s debts have not yet been paid for the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, which Rosatom is building. There are also questions to Iranian structures in Russia, which, unlike the Russian ones in Iran, are not always eager to pay taxes in full. 

At the same time, all these problems rather fit the definition of minor unpleasantness. The fact that relations between Tehran and Moscow are not all smooth, is obvious. For many years now, both sides have been saying that our interaction should not be called an alliance, but a strategic partnership. This is a partnership between two countries that do not fully understand and trust each other.

At the same time, the positives in relations in recent years clearly overshadow the negatives. 

2021 was a record year for trade between the countries, despite sanctions and the pandemic. Russia and Iran are increasingly on the same side of the barricades in the international arena – the example of the nuclear deal is probably one of the most striking, and Iran’s accession to the SCO in 2021 occurred primarily at the initiative of Russia. Moscow’s interest is also shown by its intention to open a cultural center in Iran in 2022 (there are already two Iranian centers in Russia) and the tripling of the quotas for Iranian students to study for free in Russian universities by Rossotrudnichestvo.

Finally, we should not forget the continuing successful cooperation between the two countries in Syria. And how many voices have been heard to the effect that Tehran and Moscow are incompatible forces in the Middle East, and the days of this cooperation are numbered!

On the whole, the sides have found an approach in which they are able to focus on overlapping interests and steadily build up cooperation. Breakthrough decisions are rare here, but slow and painstaking work makes it possible to achieve new results. And it is in this vein that Raisi’s current visit to Russia should be considered.

Photo: The Russian president Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart stand on the opposite ends of an unusually long table. Is this something with diplomatic significance? (source: Kremlin.ru)

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