Sergei Lavrov arrived in Iran on Wednesday as the head of a delegation from Russia, meeting with President Ebrahim Raisi and his counterpart Hossein Amir Abdollahian in what was billed as a trip to “strengthen bilateral relations”.
The trip comes at a time when Russia is increasingly isolated on the world stage, buffeted by sanctions so extreme its new status is near-comparable to Iran’s. Last month, the Kremlin annouced that Iran and Russia, as two sanctioned states with huge oil and gas reserves, had discussed the establishment of a joint energy supply center.
Other purposes of Lavrov’s visit, state media reported on Wednesdsay, was to “strengthen energy cooperation”, improve regional coordination in Eurasia and the Caucasus, and “discuss the UN Security Council”. The outcome of the talks was not detailed on Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, Reuters and other international observers have suggested Russia has surpassed Iran’s oil sales in China, as previously happened with steel.
Nevertheless Tehran continues to see the Kremlin as an important, even necessary ally in the region and on the global stage. The Iranian Foreign Ministry has recently described Russia as “a priority in the balanced foreign policy of hte 14th government… We hope that the growing cooperation between the two countries will reach its best in the not-too-distant future.”