Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan head to Tehran on Tuesday for talks with their Iranian counterpart, Ebrahim Raisi.
The official purpose of the summit in the Iranian capital is to discuss the situation in Syria, although Russia’s war in Ukraine is expected to also feature.
Erdogan was welcomed at the Saadabad Palace Complex outside of the capital on Tuesday morning, Iran’s IRNA news agency reported.
The three countries had conducted talks on Syria in the past, with Russia and Iran supporting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the long-running civil war, while Turkey maintained links to opposition forces in the country.
Since 2017, Russia, Iran and Turkey had sponsored meetings under the Astana format aimed at arriving at a political settlement to end the war.
In recent months Ankara said it was mulling a fresh military offensive in northern Syria to target Kurdish armed groups.
Ankara already controlled swathes of Syrian territory, but Russia and Iran had cautioned against mounting a further incursion.
In an opinion piece, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian described the meeting as an approach to set a new neighbourhood and region-oriented policy.
“The summit will not be limited to the Syria issue as the three countries have common interests in the fields of economy, energy and food security.
“This will be part of the summit’s deliberations,’’ he wrote in the Iran Daily newspaper on Tuesday.
The visit to Tehran would be Putin’s second official trip abroad since Russian forces invaded Ukraine at the end of February.
He was in Tajikistan last month.
While the war in Ukraine was not officially on the agenda, it was thought likely to be a topic for discussion.
Turkey maintained close ties with both Moscow and Kiev and had acted as a mediator in the conflict to facilitate grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.
Officially, Iran maintains a neutral stance in the war.
But Tehran’s sympathies for Russia were well known as Moscow was its main military equipment supplier.
Last week, Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser, told reporters that the U.S. had information indicating Tehran was looking to supply Russia with weapons-capable drones for use in Ukraine.
Iran’s drones had been used by the Houthi rebels in Yemen to attack Saudi Arabia, he noted.
Iran blasted Sullivan’s claimed as baseless while the Kremlin said drones would not be a subject of discussion on Tuesday.
Iran’s relations with Moscow had become increasingly close in recent years – especially after 2018.
The United States, under then-president Donald Trump, pulled out of the Vienna nuclear agreement and began reimposing economic sanctions.