The Moscow Visit of Hossein Amir-Abdollahian
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian went to Moscow with a considerable number of people on his committee on Tuesday, August 30. During his third visit to Moscow since assuming the duty of foreign minister, Abdollahian was accompanied by Iran's Special Envoy for Afghanistan Kazemi Qomi, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani, Director General of the Eurasia Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Alireza Haghighian, Director General of the South Asia Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Seyyed Rasoul Mousavi, and the Iranian foreign minister's senior advisor for special political affairs Ali Asghar Khaji. Before leaving for Moscow, Abdollahian gave the following statements to the press about the purpose of his visit: “Some European partners want Iran to play an active role in the resolution of the Ukraine crisis. Therefore, one of the main goals of this trip is to resolve the Ukraine crisis by bringing the parties to the negotiation table.” In the statement made by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on August 29, regarding the visit, it is said that “Amir-Abdollahian will meet with his counterpart Sergey Lavrov during his visit to Moscow to discuss the latest developments in nuclear negotiations, the cooperation between Iran and Russia in the field of energy and transportation, and the developments in Ukraine, Syria, and Afghanistan.”
Another assessment of Abdollahian's visit to Moscow came from Mohammad Jamshidi, the Iranian President's deputy head for political affairs. Jamshidi posted on his social media account that “One of the leaders of Western Europe asked Ebrahim Raisi to mediate in the war in Europe. After a series of consultations, Foreign Minister Abdollahian went to Moscow with an important message.”
Iranian press claimed that the European leader who asked Raisi to act as a mediator in the Ukraine War is French President Emmanuel Macron. According to ISNA, Macron asked Iranian President Raisi to mediate between Russia and the West to end the war in Ukraine. No statement has been received yet from the European side regarding the issue. However, French President Macron had a phone call with his Iranian counterpart Raisi last week. The Iranian media wrote that during this meeting, “Raisi told his French counterpart that Iran is ready to do everything in its power to end the war in Ukraine.” According to Iranian media, Moscow is expected to accept Tehran’s offer to be the mediator, considering the good relations between Russia and Iran. Since the beginning of the Ukraine War, Iranian officials have offered to mediate between Moscow and Kyiv many times. However, Tehran's mediation offers were not taken seriously by either Kyiv or Western countries due to Iran’s clear positioning on the side of Russia in the Ukraine War. The mediation allegations have been made at a time when it was on the agenda that Russia was procuring hundreds of unmanned aerial vehicles from Iran to use them in Ukraine, and it raises serious questions.
Iran considers the isolation of Russia by the West due to the Ukraine War as a crucial opportunity to improve relations. While Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Tehran on July 19, Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei stated that they want to develop long-term cooperation with Russia in various fields. It is known that Iran has been working on 20-year economic and security agreements with Russia for a long time. On July 19, 2022, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and Gazprom, Russia's largest energy company, which includes 40 billion dollars in investments in oil and natural gas projects.While Iran is trying to better position itself against the West by deepening its relations with Russia, especially in this period of nuclear negotiations, Russia intends to bypass the sanctions through Iran. If Russia-Ukraine War continues, the Moscow-Tehran rapprochement can be expected to improve even more.