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Putin visit will lead to leap in Iran-Russia relations: expert

TEHRAN, Oct. 14 (Mehr News Agency) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin's trip to Iran will lead to an important leap in Tehran-Moscow relations, and at this juncture, when the West is making the utmost efforts to isolate Iran, it is even more important, Central Asia expert Hossein Ahmadi said here on Sunday. Putin is slated to attend the 2nd Summit of Caspian Sea Littoral States in Tehran on October 16 along with the presidents of the other four countries bordering the Caspian Sea, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan. The heads of state are scheduled to discuss the sea's legal regime and other regional and international issues.

Some of the issues of common interest of Iran and Russia are their opposition to the U.S. presence in Azerbaijan and Georgia, their opposition to the proposal to demarcate the Caspian Sea, and their consensus on the need to confront Al-Qaeda's activities and deal with the expansion of extremist Wahhabism and the resurgence of the Taleban in the region, Ahmadi told the Mehr News Agency.

He also noted that now that the Islamist Justice and Development (AK) Party is in power in Turkey, the Iran-Turkey-Russia triangle can become a new alliance of powers in the region.

Russia and Central Asia expert Jafar Qamat told MNA that Russia is trying to connect the issue of the Caspian Sea legal regime to Iran's nuclear issue.

The main reason Putin is visiting Iran in the final months of his term as president is to resolve some of the problems in Tehran-Moscow relations, he stated.

Putin wants to negotiate with Iran to clear up ambiguities about the nuclear program and to ensure that Russia is able to continue to play an influential role in the issue of the country's nuclear dossier, he said.

In the event that the UN Security Council issues a third resolution against Tehran, the most that Russia can do for Iran is to abstain from the vote, Qamat added.

Islamic Coalition Party member Hamid-Reza Taraqi stated, "Cooperation and interaction with Russia will increase Iran's security, and reduce U.S. influence in the region" because Tehran and Moscow are both opposed to the U.S. plan to build more military bases in the region.

Russia is a permanent member of the UN Security Council with veto power and is a serious rival of the U.S. in the region; hence the United States is opposed to Putin's trip to Tehran, he noted.

The Russian president's visit runs contrary to the U.S. policy to isolate Iran, and the agreement that that Caspian Sea littoral states are expected to make at the summit will be a crushing blow for Washington, he added.

... Payvand News - 10/14/07 ... --

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