This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said in a meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that he wants to expand bilateral trade with Moscow and make it independent of the Western financial exchange system.
Raisi — who met with Putin on the sidelines of the sixth summit of the Caspian Sea’s littoral states in Turkmenistan on June 29 — added that an independent financial system would make it “impossible for any country to exert influence or pressure on it.”
Iran has been under intense economic pressure from the West and the United States for years over its nuclear program. Russia has likewise been hit hard by international sanctions because of its February invasion of Ukraine.
Amid the hardships, Raisi announced there has been an increase in trade and economic relations between the two countries in recent months and said Iran seeks engagement with Russia within the framework of a “strategic relationship.”
During the meeting, Putin stressed the security cooperation between Moscow and Tehran.
“We are in constant contact on political and security matters, including in critical areas of Syria,” said Putin.
Russia and Iran have solid ties and are key allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in it’s decade-long civil war.
Moscow is also a signatory to the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and five world powers under which Tehran was granted sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.