Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian at the start of a two-day visit during which he will discuss the war in Ukraine, regional security and Iran’s nuclear talks.
In a statement, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said talks with Iranian officials would focus on the nuclear deal and the war in Ukraine, Syria and Yemen.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry announced Lavrov’s visit on June 13, but Moscow only confirmed the news on the eve of his trip.
“Tomorrow Lavrov will visit Iran,” Russia’s permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, said on Twitter.
The Russian foreign minister is scheduled to hold detailed talks with Abdollahian on Thursday.
On his agenda are the signing of a long-term bilateral cooperation agreement and the expansion of economic contacts in view of the increasing Western sanctions as well as developments in the Ukraine war.
Lavrov’s consultations with his Iranian counterpart fall within the context of the nuclear talks in Vienna between Iran and the major powers (Russia, USA, China, France, Great Britain and Germany).
Intermittent 11-month talks to revive the deal were put on hold in Vienna last March after Russia asked for US guarantees that its trade with Iran would not be hampered by sanctions against Moscow over the Ukraine crisis. Moscow later said it had received written guarantees that it could assume its role as a party to the deal, suggesting Moscow could allow talks to resume.
Iranian circles supporting the nuclear deal have criticized Russia for “obstructing” nuclear talks, but negotiations became more complicated after Tehran called for the Revolutionary Guards to be removed from the list of terrorist organizations.
This is the first meeting Abdollahian brings together with one of his counterparts from signatory countries to the nuclear deal after the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors condemned Tehran’s failure to respond to IAEA questions about the presence of trace amounts of enriched uranium in undeclared locations.
Russia, along with its ally China, voted against the resolution tabled by the United States, France, Britain and Germany.