Monday, February 6

Putin’s trip to Iran shows Russia’s ‘desperation’: US Institute of Peace


Russian President Vladimir Putin likely wanted to show that Moscow is still important in the Middle East by visiting Iran, but instead, the trip shows “a bit of desperation,” according to John Drennan of the US Institute of Peace.

The goal was to have a discussion with Iran and Turkey’s leaders about the peace process in Syria, said Drennan, who is a senior program officer at the USIP’s Center for Russia and Europe.

Putin met with Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to notices on the Kremlin’s website published Tuesday.

“We are strengthening our cooperation on international security and making a tangible contribution to settling the Syrian conflict,” Putin said.

I think the Russians would spin the meeting as a demonstration that they’re not actually isolated, they’re still a major player in the Middle East.

John Drennan

Senior program officer, US Institute of Peace

Putin also met with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Iran.

“I think the Russians would spin the meeting as a demonstration that they’re not actually isolated, they’re still a major player in the Middle East,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Wednesday.

“But I do think, to [National Security Council spokesman John Kirby’s] point, it does show a bit of desperation that the Russians are having to go to the Iranians for military support,” he added.

Earlier, Kirby told reporters at the White House that the trip “shows the degree to which Mr. Putin and Russia are increasingly isolated.”

“Now they have to turn to Iran for help,” he said.

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Russia’s press service and information department did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi greets Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 19, 2022. Putin likely wanted to show that Moscow is still important in the Middle East by visiting Iran, said John Drennan of the US Institute of Peace.

Sergey Savostyanov | AFP | Getty Images


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