Tehran, November 25, The Iran Project – Putin’s first visit to Tehran after eight years within the framework of the third summit of Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) in Tehran has extensively generated comments and speculations. As many commentators have argued, the Russian leader one-day trip opens a new chapter of partnership between Iran and Russia in military, political and economic sphere. However, amid the attempts to settle the Syrian crisis politically and at the time of growing concerns over the spread of terrorism in the world, the incident may convey a far deeper message.
Putin who joined eight other heads of state in Tehran attended GECF summit on Monday inked seven cooperation agreements with Tehran to boost bilateral cooperation.
Before the Russian leader headed to a major summit of gas exporting countries, Iran’s leader hosted President Putin. During the 90-minute- conversation, which took longer than planned, Putin presented the Supreme Leader the oldest manuscript of holy Quran.
Russia also pledged to open a $5 billion credit line for Iran to help finance joint infrastructure project.
Facilitating mutual travel conditions for citizens of two countries, electrifying the railways, expanding the bank cooperation, strengthening power transmission network and constructing a power plant in south of Iran are among the agreements signed between two nations, on the sidelines of 3rd GECF Monday session in Tehran.
Export deals worth over $21 billion are also other major agreement which had been signed at the Moscow air show in last August. The deals include the production and procurement of the satellite equipment and Sukhoi Superjet aircraft and some other aerospace related plans.
According to Russia Today, President Putin also has signed a decree that lifts the entire bans on supplying uranium enrichment equipment to Tehran before heading to Tehran to take part in GECF summit. RT further explained that the decision has been made in the frame work of the nuclear deal in July.
The Western media also have put a spotlight on the Russian leader’s talks with Iran’s senior officials in Tehran, highlighted different aspects of President Putin’s one-day visit.
Bloomberg, for instance, primarily noted the business agreements signed on the sidelines of the GECF summit, which according to its own terms, mainly strength the growing alliance of two countries in the Middle East. It then underlined the countries’ projection of a united front in Syria imposed war, further explaining that Russia’s airstrike in Support of President Assad has strategically drawn two countries closer.
In its reporting of the news related to Putin’s meeting with Iran’s supreme leader, the Associated Press referred to both countries similar attitudes against any external effort to impose a political settlement in Syria. It further noted the Ayatollah Khamenei’s warning against the Western diplomatic efforts which are in line with their ambitions, urging the need to foil them “with wisdom and active interaction.”
Referring two countries’ opposition to any “external attempt” to change the regime in Syria, AFP quoted a Kremlin spokesperson, as saying that Putin and Ayatollah Khamenei 90-minute encounter, which took longer than planned, was “quite constructive.” Praising Iran by Russia leader for its support of the operation in Syria also drew this media attention.
In its reporting of two leader’s meeting, Wall Street Journal explained the Monday’s meeting as a “new era of cooperation” between Moscow and Tehran following the nuclear deal. It then reflected the common political grounds and overlapping economic interests specifically in nuclear and defense issues that have provided two countries with an opportunity to counter the Western influence in the region.
In sum, majority of media have argued that Putin’s one-day visit of Tehran heralds new era of mutual cooperation in multiple areas.
The context, however, within which the recent mutual closer cooperation has come, is worth of even further consideration. In a sensitive time that Iran and Russia struggle to commence the peace process according to Vienna talks, both countries proximity primarily mean to send the message that any foreign attempt to dictate scenarios for settlement of Syrian dispute is doomed to fail and this is only Syrian people who are authorized to decide their fate.
This is also in the wake of deadly attacks in Paris and Beirut and earlier the terrorist move against Russia’s aircraft in Egypt soil and at the time when two countries are fighting in a same front against Western-backed terrorism in Syria and Iraq.
On one hand , the new wave of wider partnership seems a clear message of warning to ISIS, reassuring the international community that both Iran and Russia are serious in their counter-terrorism campaign. On the other hand, it signals the unity of the rival coalition consists of Iran, Russia, Iraq and Syria against the West’s expansionist policy in the region.