Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has arrived in Russia for a two-day official visit.
He was greeted by a guard of honour after landing in Moscow to discuss bilateral issues and cooperation between the two countries.
Rouhani will see his counterpart Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on Tuesday, and he will also meet Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev during the trip.
A number of bilateral documents are expected to be signed after the series of meetings.
Earlier Rouhani said he welcomed Russian investment in Iran’s gas and oil fields, signaling major developments in energy cooperation between the two countries.
As Syria’s six year-long civil war has sucked in both regional and international players, Iran and Russia have found themselves forging a new strategic alliance in the Middle East.
Along with Turkey, Russia and Iran have taken the lead in peace talks – mainly because the United States’ influence in the region has waned. And notably those talks have taken place in Astana, the capital of a former Soviet Republic, Kazakhstan.
A new group of leaders are in the ascendant in Syria, at least in the government controlled areas. On the rubble strewn streets of newly recaptured Aleppo the posters of four leaders loom large: Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
They’ve formed a new strategic alliance after Syria’s military – mainly with the help of Russian airstrikes – finally defeated the anti-government rebels in Aleppo which were principally backed by the Sunni Gulf states
By letting Russian warplanes use one of its military bases to launch strikes on Syria, Iran also grew closer to Assad’s fellow Shi’ite regime.
And now Iran and Russia find themselves firm allies in Syria’s growing sectarian conflict.