By Zein Basravi/Al Jazeera News|
Tehran, Iran – Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to arrive in Iran on Wednesday for a trilateral summit, which also includes Azerbaijan.
Economic cooperation is likely to top the agenda, specifically the completion of a rail link along the North-South Transport Corridor that runs through Iran and Azerbaijan and connects Russia to India.
But bilateral talks between Russia and Iran are likely to take centre stage.
At any other time, a meeting between leaders of Iran and Russia would be routine diplomacy. However, in a de facto post-ISIL Syria (and Iraq) and with Iran’s expanding influence in the region, talks between Moscow and Tehran are likely to shape future events in the region.
“The Russians have now come to realise that if they have a true partner in this part of the world, it is Iran,” said Mostafa Khosh Cheshm, a political analyst based in Tehran and the head of the semi-official FARS news agency.
With Iran’s support, the Russian foray into Syria has been a battlefield success. Critics had feared it would be an Afghanistan-like quagmire but instead it allowed Russia to reposition itself diplomatically and at relatively little cost. Russian casualties have been in the dozens, despite Moscow’s multi-year involvement in the war.
Source: Al Jazeera News Online