Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Tehran for a summit with his counterparts from Iran and Turkey, Ebrahim Raisi and Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
It is Putin’s first foreign trip outside the former Soviet Union since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
The summit is held to discuss the struggle in Syria, but the war in Ukraine and frictions between Iran and Arab countries are also emerging as topics of discussion. Erdogan is talking with Putin about the possibility of safely transporting Ukrainian grain from Odesa, in particular, across the Black Sea to the world market.
Putin also visits Iran’s most powerful man, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Both leaders want to strengthen ties. Iranian leaders see the Kremlin as an ally against US influence in the Middle East.
US President Joe Biden has just visited Israel and Saudi Arabia. There he continues the policies of his predecessor Donald Trump and strives for Arab recognition of and cooperation with Israel. Arab Gulf states and Israel view Shia Iran as a danger. Biden also threatened to use force to fight Iran if the country started making nuclear weapons.
In the raging struggle in Syria, Iran and Russia support the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Turkey is backing Sunni rebels seeking to overthrow the rule of Assad’s half-century-ruling clan.