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14 July 2018, 02:11 | Glen Norman
Syria from Israel's northern border
Russian President Vladimir Putin greets Iranian regime envoy Ali Akbar Velayati in Moscow. As a result of the 2015 nuclear deal, a number of Western energy companies entered the Iranian energy sector.
"The relationship between Iran and the Russian Federation is a strategic relationship and in recent years the collective bilaterial and regional relations have expanded", Iran's ISNA news agency quoted Velayati as saying on arrival in Moscow.
"In these messages, our country's views and stances regarding the United States' selfish and illegal behavior are explained to other countries", he said.
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As Syrian President Bashar al-Assad overcomes one of the last bastions of a 2011 uprising backed by the West, Turkey and Gulf Arab states, neighboring Israel has increasingly warned against perceived violations of the 1974 non-aggression pact between the two warring governments under the auspices of the United Nations.
Velayati, who is also expected to visit China in the near future, described Trump as an "unreliable individual... with relation to global law who necessitates more and more cooperation (between Iran and Russia)". Velayati was Iran's foreign minister at the time of the AMIA atrocity on July 18, 1994, when 85 people died and hundreds more were wounded after a truck packed with explosives drove into the Jewish organization's main building in the Argentine capital.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Tuesday that Velayati's visit was part of efforts to make Iran's stance clear after the USA pullout from the JCPOA signed between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries in 2015.
Facing revived sanctions from the United States and the possible knock-on collapse of its business dealings with Europe, Iran is looking to Russian Federation and China for investment and to purchase its oil.
Velayati will likely hold a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday. He said Iran and Russian Federation will maintain their military presence in Syria to make sure terrorists will not resurge.
Putin's meeting with Velayati followed Wednesday's talks in Moscow with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who restated Israel's determination that the Iranian military presence be removed from Syria entirely.
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