The first item on the agenda was a lengthy talk between RISS delegation and the CSR president, senior advisor to the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for international affairs, former Minister of foreign affairs of Iran, Ali Akbar Velayati. During the meeting, the participants exchanged opinions on various issues of Russian-Iranian relationships and current regional affairs.
According to Tehran Times, whose reporters managed to obtain brief detail on the meeting that was generally closed for the press, Ali Akbar Velayati stated “Iran would not let Americans and their allies to implement their disgusting plan of dismembering Syria”. “The way Syrian people resist these plans and the terrorist threat is heroic. This is unprecedented”, Velayati said.
(Other media in Iran and in neighboring countries also responded to this meeting in a similar way; see this article in Russian from an Azerbaijani site, for example: http://deyerler.org/ru/168596-rsssrsr-rrrrssryo-s-ryisrrssrriryosrrsrryo-rrr-rrssryoryo.html).
According to Ali Akbar Velayati, Russia’s and Iran’s positions are the same on this matter, as well as on many others. He also reminded of several important bilateral cooperation and multilateral coordination agreements reached during his negotiations with President Putin in Moscow this February, when Mr. Velayati came to Russia by RISS invitation.
The February visit was a result of reciprocal intentions for cooperation voiced in late September 2015, when RISS delegation headed by director, Lieutenant General L.P. Reshetnikov visited Tehran. Today these intentions are being translated into specific events.
As a continuation of working contacts with CSR, a round table was organized, involving experts from Russia and Iran. Advisor to RISS Director E.V. Suponina told her Iranian colleagues of Russia’s vision of the situation in the Middle East and possible scenarios for its development. Head of RISS Regional Information and Analytical Scientific Centre in Saint Petersburg A.A. Kolesnikov presented a detailed analysis of the situation in Central Asian region. Senior research associate of RISS Centre for Asia and the Middle East I.A. Svistunova presented a report on the establishment of Turkey – Azerbaijan – Georgia triangle in Transcaucasian region.
For their part, Iranian partners shared their views on the happenings in the Middle East region, as well as Central Asia and Transcaucasian region. They also voiced several proposals on what Russia and Iran can do together to help stabilize the situation in the regions sensitive for the two countries.
The exchange of opinions with experts from Iran continued at the meetings between RISS delegation and the management and staff of two other major research institutions of Iran – Creative Thinking Institute (Andisheh Sazan-e-Noor) and Center for Strategic Defense Research. Both institutions are actively engaged in the development of regional cooperation programs, among other things, so the situation in the region became a top-priority topic for discussions.
RISS staff also met a number of high-ranking officials of Iran during the visit. Among them was a Deputy of Iran’s Parliament, Speaker of the Committee for National Security and Foreign Policy Hossein Naghavi. This year he was elected to the new, 10th convocation of the Parliament, so his speech was dedicated to the preparation for the Parliament’s first sessions.
At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the delegation had a conversation with the General Director of the Department for the Middle East and North Africa Mohammad Irani. At the Oil Ministry, the delegates were greeted by Deputy Oil Minister for International Affairs Masoud Esfahani, for a comprehensive exchange of opinions on expanding the cooperation between Russia and Iran in the area of energy.
Former Deputy Minister, Director of the Center for International Studies and Education under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran, Mr. Hadi Soleimanpour invited RISS delegation to a working dinner to discuss a wide range of regional issues.
RISS experts spoke to the students at the faculty of law and political Studies at Tehran University, answering their questions and listening to brilliant speeches by the Iranian students.
At the Russian Embassy in Iran, RISS delegation met with the Ambassador L.S. Djagaryan. He talked about the prospects for further development of cooperation between Iran and Russia, which is currently “at a high level”.
RISS staff also visited Imam Khomeini’s home in Djamaran district of Tehran, where the leader of Iranian Revolution spent his last years after the 1979 revolution, and a museum in his memory. This visit came as the museum and nearby Hussainia (a place where Shia Muslims congregate for prayer and commemoration) were preparing for a series of events dedicated to the 27th anniversary of Imam Khomeini’s demise.
The main commemoration events, including those involving the Spiritual Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, will take place in Iran on June 3.
The final stop at the RISS delegation’s visit to Tehran was a tour of the Russian Temple of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, built in 1944 by Russian refugees, who were forced to leave the country after the events of 1917. The temple was consecrated in spring 1945.