TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif said Sunday Iran and Russia must upgrade their document on promotion of lasting cooperation to strategic ties.
Zarif told chairman of the Russian State Duma’s foreign affairs committee Leonid Slutsky here that given the level of cooperation between the two countries in different fields, it is necessary to update the document.
The top Iranian diplomat also stressed the importance of bolstering strategic relations between the parliaments.
Slutsky said his visit to Tehran at the time of the coronavirus pandemic shows the significance of mutual relations and issues discussed by the two sides.
Zarif and Slutsky discussed ways to boost bilateral ties, especially in the economic field, maintain Iran’s nuclear deal, solve the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya, and enhance bilateral cooperation on regional and international issues.
The call for strategic cooperation document with Russia comes as Iran and China are putting their finishing touch to a similar roadmap for final signature.
Zarif announced in early July that China and Iran were in the process of negotiating a 25-year strategic agreement, aiming to work together more closely in the coming decades.
China sees Iran as a major market for its commodities — and as a source of oil. Iran, for its part, hopes Chinese investments and its own exports will buffer it against the economic pressure of ongoing U.S. sanctions.
Tehran’s move toward Beijing is partly a reaction to the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement, said Hamidreza Azizi, a visiting fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. But the US isn’t the only reason, he told DW: Tehran is also disappointed that the Europeans have not lived up to their economic commitments.
Azizi said China and Russia are the only two countries that have maintained their economic ties with Iran, leading the Iranian government to see expanded ties with these two powers as the only viable option to insulate the country’s economy. At the same time, he said, Iranian politicians increasingly have the impression that U.S. power and international standing has begun to decline under President Donald Trump.
"As such, their understanding is that the best way to preserve Iran’s interests in the long run is to define frameworks for long-term partnership with ‘non-Western’ powers,” said Azizi.