President Vladimir Putin is to visit Iran in August to try and restart talks on Tehran’s controversial nuclear program, Russia’s Kommersant daily reported on Wednesday.
Putin’s visit is planned for mid-August, shortly after Iran’s new president Hassan Rohani formally takes office on August 3, Kommersant reported, citing sources in the Kremlin and the Iranian foreign ministry.
It will be Putin’s first trip to Iran since 2007.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told AFP: “I cannot so far confirm this.”
Moscow hopes the visit will provide impetus to restart the currently stalled talks on Iran’s nuclear program, the newspaper cited sources as saying.
Kommersant cited a source in the Iranian foreign ministry as saying the trip would take place August 12-13. It said a Kremlin source confirmed the trip, but said it was not yet decided whether it would last one or two days.
Western powers have expressed cautious hopes for a change in tone in talks after the June election of Rohani, a cleric who has vowed to engage constructively with the international community and to ease tensions raised by Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
Iran is accused by the West and Israel of seeking to produce nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian atomic program, while Iran insists it is for peaceful purposes.
It has been slapped with international sanctions over its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, which have severely hit its economy.
Russia is a member of the so-called P5+1 group that has been negotiating with Iran over the program and which is made up of the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany.
Further to the above, the Kremlin’s ‘Russia Today’ channel reports that Putin will try to offer Iran the S-300VM Antey-2500 air defense systems (an older model of the current S-300) as compensation for the cancellation of the 2007 deal to provide five S-300 systems which was aborted after massive western pressure on Russia. The S-300VM Antey-2500 cannot, however , stop IAF or USAF bombardment of the Iranian nuclear facilities, as any system below the S-300 level has already been cracked by the Israelis in Syria, and the S-300 batteries in Syria manned by Russian teams were simply bypassed by an Israeli Dolphin class submarine in the recent attack on Latakia, as we’ve reported in an exclusivity scooped post several weeks ago.