Putin heading to Iran for first time in eight years

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Tehran and attend a summit of countries exporting gas, Reuters quoted his aide Yuri Ushakov as saying on Friday.

Putin has not visited Iran since 2007 and while in Tehran is expected to hold talks with the Islamic Republic’s President Hassan Rouhani, Ushakov said.

Iran and Russia have recently strengthened relations and Moscow is reportedly considering loans worth $7 billion to Tehran.

Tehran will be playing host to a Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) on November 23, as it prepares for the lifting of Western sanctions next year, under the terms of a nuclear agreement it struck with world powers in Vienna in early July.

Iran has also gained a seat at the table in negotiations over the future of Syria, at Russia’s insistence. Both countries are supporting embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad in the talks, which also include the US and Saudi Arabia. The US previously opposed any future for Syria in which Assad is part of the picture but over the past month has softened and is now willing to tolerate him in a transitional government.

Full article: Putin heading to Iran for first time in eight years (The Times of Israel)

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