The meeting with Ahmadinejad will allow Putin to “feel the heat surrounding the Iranian problem and how this issue is perceived in Tehran,” Yuri Ushakov, a former ambassador to the U.S. who advises Putin on foreign policy, told reporters in Moscow yesterday.
The Ahmadinejad meeting foreshadows an international round of talks about Iran’s atomic program in Moscow on June 18-19, the third attempt in three months to address global concerns that Iran is developing atomic weapons. Iran has said its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, and is seeking relief from the economic sanctions the U.S. and European Union have imposed.
“We weren’t too happy with the results of the last round of talks, but we determined the mutual readiness to continue the discussion,” Ushakov said. At the Moscow meeting, Russia will “promote the thought that Iran’s right to develop peaceful energy under the oversight of the International Atomic Energy Agency should be approved.”
Iran is an observer nation to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a security alliance led by China, Russia and Kazakhstan, which will hold a summit on June 6-7 in Beijing. Putin will attend and meet with China’s President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, according to Ushakov. He will also meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in China.
“Iran will never give up its nuclear program, this is just an opportunity to extend the talks through Russia,” Alexei Malashenko, a Middle East analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said by phone today. “The talks won’t lead to anything besides intrigues and new offenses.”
Brent crude, the benchmark for half of the world’s oil, rose 18 percent this year through March 13 as Iran threatened to shut the Strait of Hormuz, a transit route for a fifth of the world’s oil.
The Chinese and Russian leaders are expected to sign 17 political and economic agreements, including the promotion of bilateral strategic relations, Ushakov said. Russia’s goal is to boost trade volumes to $100 billion by 2015 from $83.5 billion in 2011, Ushakov said. Russia is “hoping” its representative, Dmitry Mezentsev, will be chosen as the next general secretary of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Ushakov said.