Russian, Iranian Presidents To Hold Talks In Moscow

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The Kremlin says President Vladimir Putin will host his Iranian counterpart, Ebrahim Raisi, in Moscow on January 19, amid negotiations aimed at reviving a landmark nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

It will be Raisi's third visit outside Iran -- after Tajikistan and neighboring Turkmenistan -- since he took over the presidency in August, and the first trip by an Iranian president to Russia since 2017.

Moscow and Tehran have strong political, economic, and military ties and are key allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his country's decade-long civil war.

Putin and Raisi will discuss the "whole range of issues of bilateral cooperation," including the 2015 nuclear agreement that lifted crippling Western economic sanctions in exchange for curbing Tehran's nuclear program, according to a Kremlin statement.

The Iranian side said Raisi would leave on January 19 for a two-day trip to Russia along with the country's oil, foreign, and economy ministers.

A Russian lawmaker told reporters that Raisi would speak at the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, the next day, while Russia's TASS news agency reported that the Iranian president will meet with religious leaders at Moscow's main mosque.

The Iran nuclear accord began to unravel in 2018 after then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States and reimposed sanctions, prompting Tehran to walk back on its commitments.

Since last year, Iran has been in talks with the other signatories of the accord -- the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China, and Germany -- to restore the deal, but the negotiations were suspended for around five months following Raisi's election.

The main aims of the talks, which were relaunched in November, are to get the United States to return to the deal and lift its sanctions, and for Iran to resume full compliance.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.