Tehran’s offensive for establishing itself as the leading Middle East power bar none is in full flight. On his arrival in Moscow Thursday, Jan. 17, Foreign Minister Javad Zerif handed Vladimir Putin an invitation to visit Tehran from President Hassan Rouhani. The Russian president replied: “I hope to visit you in Tehran very soon.” Iran also sent out invitations to Gulf rulers to tour its nuclear reactor at Bushehr, combined with a round table discussion on regional nuclear cooperation.
This visit would be tantamount to the Arab oil emirs’ recognition of the legitimacy of Iran’s nuclear program. It is likely to come off because the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman are already in favor of rapprochement with Tehran.
A development more directly affecting Israel’s interests is the King of Morocco’s offer to Iran of full membership in the Al Quds (Jerusalem) Committee of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (IOC), with the approval of US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Thursday, Jan. 16, Iran’s Javad Zarif and Syria’s Walid Moallem flew together to Moscow aboard the same flight and went straight into a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Zarif caught the flight in Damascus after a consultation with Syrian President Bashar Assad and a government-building exercise in Beirut. DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources and intelligence sources report that this spurt of diplomatic motion came after Assad gave the nod to the plan Tehran had prepared to put on the table of the Geneva 2 conference, which opens in Switzerland on Jan. 20 for a political solution of the Syrian conflict. The two foreign ministers came to Moscow to collect Putin’s signature on the Iranian plan.
Full article: Putin to visit Tehran. King of Morocco invites Iran to “Jerusalem Committee” – with Kerry’s approval (DEBKAfile)