Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will pay a historic visit to Iran next month to re-launch the stalled nuclear talks and give new dynamics to bilateral ties, according to a newspaper report.
The visit may take place on August 12-13, the Kommersant daily reported on Wednesday, citing Iranian sources. Kremlin sources confirmed the visit, but said it was not yet decided whether it would last one or two days.
Mr Putin is likely to become the first foreign leader to visit Tehran after the inauguration of Iran’s newly elected President Hassan Rouhani, scheduled for August 3.
It will also be the first ever bilateral visit by a Russian leader to Iran. Mr Putin visited Iran in 2007 for an international conference on the Caspian Sea and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin visited Tehran in 1943 for a World War Two summit among the allies, Soviet Union, United States and Britain.
Mr Putin is expected to discuss Iran’s controversial nuclear program, construction of new reactors at Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant built with Russian assistance, and new arms deals, the Kommersant said.
According to defence industry sources, Mr Putin will offer to replace the cancelled shipment of Iran S-300PMU-1 surface-to-air missiles with a similar long-range air defence systems VM Antey-2500, also known as S-300VM. Russia scrapped the deal in 2010 after the United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions on Iran.
Mr Putin’s press secretary would not immediately comment on the report of the planned visit to Iran, saying only that “there are a large number of visits currently under preparation.”