Iran, Russia Deepen Ties In Face Of Western Sanctions, International Isolation  

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Welcome again to The Farda Briefing, an RFE/RL publication that tracks the important thing points in Iran and explains why they matter.

I am senior correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari. This is what I have been following and what I am watching out for within the days forward.

The Massive Problem

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Iran on July 19 to bolster ties with Tehran. In solely his second journey overseas after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Putin met Supreme Chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

In an indication of deepening relations, Khamenei voiced robust backing for Putin and appeared to endorse Moscow’s invasion. Whereas Putin additionally met the presidents of Turkey and Syria in Tehran, his journey put the give attention to rising ties between Tehran and Moscow. His go to got here after U.S. President Joe Biden’s tour of the Center East final week, throughout which he visited Israel and Saudi Arabia, Tehran’s regional foes, and vowed to counter Iran’s risk within the area.

Why It Issues: Iran and Russia have tried to spice up commerce and army cooperation in recent times. However Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has introduced the perimeters even nearer. Each nations have been hit by Western sanctions and worldwide isolation. Putin’s journey appeared designed to point out that Tehran and Moscow haven’t been remoted.

Since then-U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the Iran nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions in 2018, Tehran has adopted a coverage of “seeking to the East,” turning to allies Russia and China.

In flip, Russia has been the goal of unprecedented Western sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine, forcing Moscow to additionally look to the East for political allies and commerce companions. The coverage of siding with Moscow has been considered skeptically by an Iranian public that distrusts Russia. Iranians have been essential of Russia’s unprovoked warfare in Ukraine.

What’s Subsequent: Earlier than Putin’s journey, the Nationwide Iranian Oil Firm and Russian fuel producer Gazprom signed a memorandum of understanding price round $40 billion. In latest months, the nations have additionally pledged to extend commerce cooperation. Regardless of the bulletins, bilateral commerce has not considerably elevated.

The warfare in Ukraine has additionally resulted in Russia and Iran competing within the power sector. Moscow has been providing discounted oil to Iran’s clients, leading to Tehran’s exports falling sharply. It stays to be seen if plans by Iran and Russia to spice up commerce will materialize. Tehran and Moscow are additionally bolstering army cooperation. Washington has alleged that Iran is getting ready to ship tons of of fight drones to Russia to make use of in its warfare in Ukraine, a transfer that could possibly be a turning level in relations.

Tales You Would possibly Have Missed

A court docket in Tehran has stated acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi should serve a six-year sentence he was handed greater than a decade in the past for supporting anti-government rallies. Days previous to his arrest, Panahi was amongst greater than 300 Iranian filmmakers and cultural activists who issued a press release condemning the latest arrests of cinematographers Mohammad Rasulof and Mostafa al-Ahmad. Panahi initially served two months in jail after his 2010 conviction earlier than being granted a conditional launch, which was revocable. As a part of his launch, he was banned from directing or writing screenplays, and from touring overseas.

Iranian lawmaker Mostafa Mirsalim has revealed that his son has been jailed for having contacts with the exiled opposition group Mujahedin-e Khalq Group (MKO), which is taken into account a terrorist group by Tehran. Mirsalim, a former presidential candidate, stated his son was sentenced to 5 years in jail in February 2020 after being convicted of nationwide safety expenses. Mirsalim stated the MKO had tried to make use of his son’s “weak level” to entry labeled data that he didn’t have entry to.

What We’re Watching

In a landmark ruling in Sweden, a former Iranian official was sentenced to life in jail over the mass executions of as much as 5,000 political prisoners in Iran in 1988. Hamid Nouri, who’s believed to have served as an assistant to the deputy prosecutor on the Gohardasht jail within the metropolis of Karaj, is the primary particular person to be sentenced for his position in one of many Islamic republic’s darkest chapters. He was convicted of a “critical crime in opposition to worldwide regulation” and “homicide.”

Why It Issues: The decision is a victory for the households of the victims, survivors, and rights activists who’ve been demanding justice for many years. Nouri is more likely to attraction the decision, which was condemned by Tehran as “political.” Iran is more likely to search for methods to place stress on Sweden to launch and return Nouri to Iran. The decision comes following the latest detention of a number of Westerners in Iran. Iran additionally holds Swedish-Iranian researcher Ahmadreza Jalili, who was sentenced to dying after being convicted of espionage. Tehran has lengthy been accused of utilizing detained overseas and twin nationals as pawns to realize leverage in its dealings with Western nations.

That’s all from me for now. Do not hesitate to ship us any questions, feedback, or suggestions that you’ve got by responding to this e-mail or individually to newsletters@rferl.org.

Till subsequent time,

Golnaz Esfandiari

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