President Vladimir Putin is expected to meet his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran on Tuesday.
The meeting, which will include Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will take place in the trilateral “Astana format” aimed at resolving differences in Syria, but there is much more at stake as war rages in Ukraine.
The leaders and their delegations are also expected to hold bilateral meetings, during which issues ranging from the war in Ukraine to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers could be discussed.
The three leaders are expected to hold important bilateral talks on the sidelines of the Nur-Sultan talks.
In addition to the safe export of grain from Ukraine, Putin and Erdogan could discuss energy, trade and other ways of improving relations.
Putin’s visit comes after United States national security adviser Jake Sullivan claimed last week that Iran wants to sell “hundreds” of armed drones to Russia to be used in the war in Ukraine.
Iran, meanwhile, wishes to sign 20-year cooperation agreements with both nations, and has made proposals in recent months.
As Iran’s economy suffers from Washington’s stringent sanctions, the Iranian president has focused on a regional diplomacy initiative to counter the effects.
Iran also wants to boost trade with Russia and Turkey, and officials have discussed using national currencies with Moscow.
“Russia and Iran have similar import and export demands – both export similar products which is part of the reason why Moscow has far more substantial economic relations with Turkey than Iran,” said Nicole Grajewski, a research fellow with the International Security Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.