Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Tehran on Monday for Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) and had talks with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani on Syrian crisis.
His visit came a week after the Vienna talks attended by the foreign ministers of 17 countries who agreed for a cease fire to take place in Syria and for the nation to hold elections within 18 months, which will include groups opposing Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad.
Neither the Syrian regime, nor the opposition groups attended the Vienna talks, but backers of both sides, from Russia and Iran to the United States, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, as well as the United Nations were present.
After the Paris terror attacks on November 13 and the detonation of a Russian airplane in Egypt on October 31, both of which were carried out by DAESH terrorist group, the international attention is currently focused on uniting against terrorism.
Relatedly, Putin said during his visit that Russian air strikes in Syria will continue as long as they are necessary to punish those guilty of blowing up the Russian airliner.
Russia, one of Bashar al Assad’s main allies, has been conducting air strikes in Syria since September 30, most of which have been in support of the regime against the moderate opposition groups, although it states that it is targeting DAESH.
Putin and Khamenei agreed in their talk that world powers must not impose their wills on Syria, uniting on their stance regarding Assad’s future, according to the Russian Interfax agency.
Besides Russia’s air strikes, which resulted with the regime forces gaining ground, Iran sent its military advisors to Assad.
In the recent weeks Tehran sent more advisers in support of Assad, including its Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard.
The Vienna plan doesn’t say anything about Assad’s future, as Russia and Iran support him while the US, as well as Gulf states and Turkey want him gone.
More than a dozen leaders are in Tehran for the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF).
Besides Putin, seven presidents, including Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro and Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari are also scheduled to have talks with Rouhani.
Talking at the summit, Khamenei said that the United States policies in the region are a threat to “especially Russia and Iran.”
Rouhani said Iran is dramatically increasing its natural gas export capacity, as it is prepared for the ending of international sanctions.
"I invite the leaders of the countries in this group to partner with Iran and invest in developing Iran's gas resources for mutual benefit," he said.
"Iran is ready to play a bigger role in the supply of gas."
Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela were the other member states joining the summit besides Iran and Russia.