Iranian President to meet Putin

Iranian President Rouhani will visit Moscow in the coming week. The two will discuss the Middle East.

Nissan Tzur ,

Rouhani and Putin
Rouhani and Putin

The Kremlin confirmed on Thursday that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will visit Moscow in the coming week and meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The visit will focus mainly on economics and trade, with the two leaders expected to sign 11 new trade agreements in various fields.

Among other things, Iran will try to sign an agreement to export large quantities of oil to Russia, and a document that will detail the continued development of bilateral relations between Moscow and Tehran.

Trade relations between Iran and Russia experienced a 60 percent increase in 2016 amounting to about $2 billion, following the lifting of the sanctions over Iran as part of the nuclear deal it signed with world powers.

The two leaders are also expected to discuss the situation in the Middle East, especially Syria. Russia and Iran support Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, and Israel has recently expressed concern that Iran is deepening its hold on Syria, possibly in cooperation with Russia.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has visited Russia several times recently, in an attempt to coordinate the IDF's activities in the region with Putin. Israel and Russia in 2015 formed a joint mechanism to coordinate military operations in Syria, and in particular concerning the use of Syrian airspace.

Despite this joint mechanism, Russia last week summoned Israel's Ambassador for clarifications following Israeli airstrikes in Syria which targeted a shipment of weapons meant for Hezbollah.

Rouhani is expected to be accompanied on his trip to Russia by several senior ministers, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Iran-Russia Joint Economic Committee Chairman Mahmoud Vazi.

Putin and Rouhani have met eight times in the past four years, making the upcoming meeting their ninth during that time span. It remains unclear whether the issues that came up during Putin and Netanyahu’s meetings, specifically the transfer of advanced weapons from Iran to Hezbollah, will be raised at the meeting between Putin and Rouhani.