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Khamenei's envoy hails Russia-Iran relationship in Putin meeting

Ali Akbar Velayati, an advisor to Iran's Supreme leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei
AFP

A top aide of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hailed what he described as booming military and trade ties with Russia during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Wednesday. 

While hours earlier Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu had pressed the Russian president on the need to boot Iranian fighters from southwest Syria, Khamenei's foreign policy adviser Ali Akbar Velayati sought to bolster ties between the two energy powerhouses. 

"The present situation is very sensitive; the world is under the influence of a rebel as the president of the US. Thus, collaborations get more and more necessary," Velayati was quoted as saying by Iran's IRNA news agency ahead of his talks with the Russian president.

"And that's why I'm carrying messages from Iran's supreme leader and president," Ali-Akbar Velayati said.

After the meeting, the news agency said that Velayati lauded Iran and Russia's co-operation against "terrorism" in Syria, referring to the two countries' alliance with the Syrian regime as a "resistance front". 

Velayati's boss, Khamenei, retains significant influence over foreign policy in competition with Iran's elected president Hassan Rouhani. The Revolutionary Guard Corps, which spearheads Iran's military aid to Syria, reports directly to the supreme leader. 

Velayati also said he hoped Russian investment in Iran's oil sector could hit $50 billion in value.

Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Russian companies have already signed deals worth billions in projects to develop Iran's oil infrastructure but the Islamic republic faces an export and investment crunch as the United States embarks on a diplomatic campaign to convince its allies to shun Iranian oil.  

On Wednesday, the top Iranian official brushed aside the competing presence of Netanyahu in Moscow. 

“He makes baseless and illogical remarks and nobody cares about his words,” Velayati was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency. “Therefore, his presence or absence in Russia has no effect on our strategic mission."

Velayati's boss, Khamenei, retains significant influence over foreign policy in competition with Iran's elected president Hassan Rouhani. The Revolutionary Guard Corps, which spearheads Iran's military aid to Syria, reports directly to the supreme leader. 

During Velayati's visit, an Argentinian federal judge asked Russian authorities to arrest him in connection with the deadly 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

Velayati, who served as Iran’s foreign minister at the time of the attack, has had an international warrant out for his arrest since 2006 on suspicion that he ordered the bombing of the Argentine Jewish Charities Federation (AMIA) that left 85 people dead and 300 others injured in the worst attack of its kind in the South American country.

After news broke of Velayati’s visit to Moscow, Argentine federal Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral, who is investigating Iranian involvement in the attack, requested his arrest.

Argentina made similar requests for Velayati’s arrest to Singapore and Malaysia in 2016, but was unsuccessful.

Comments

(2)

Iran economy will be destroyed.

P will have a choice: T or K.

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