Putin visits Tehran for talks on Syria, nuclear deal

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Tehran

Russian President Vladimir Putin met Iran’s leadership Wednesday in Tehran as the two Damascus allies push a Syria peace plan and the Kremlin offers its backing for a landmark nuclear deal facing US opposition.
Putin — on his first visit to Tehran since 2015 — held talks with President Hassan Rouhani.
The Kremlin strongman will also take part in a three-way summit with Rouhani and the leader of ex-Soviet Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev aimed at bolstering economic ties between their energy-rich nations.
Moscow said Syria will be a focus of Putin’s visit, which comes after Russia, Iran and Turkey pledged after negotiations in Kazakhstan on Tuesday to bring the Syrian regime and its opponents together for a “congress” to push peace efforts.
Russia and Iran, key military supporters of President Bashar al-Assad, and Turkey, which backs Syrian rebels, have organised a series of peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana this year, agreeing on the establishment of “de-escalation” zones in various parts of the war-torn country.
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Wednesday’s talks focused on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which saw sanctions lifted in exchange for limits on Tehran’s atomic programme and which is under pressure from US President Donald Trump.
Tehran signed the deal with six countries including Russia and the United States, but Trump last month refused to certify the agreement, drawing criticism from Moscow which slammed the US president’s “aggressive and threatening rhetoric” against Iran.—AFP

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