Relations between Tehran and Moscow are strategic and Tehran aims to boost ties at all levels, Iran's president said Thursday in a meeting with Vladimir Putin.

On the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in the Uzbek city of Samarkand Thursday,President Ebrahim Raisi assured his Russian counterpartthat Tehran will never recognize the sanctions against Russia and will strengthen and develop its trade and economic relations with Moscow.

“Our relations are not ordinary; they are of a strategic nature. Iran wishes to expand its strategic relations with Russia and all political, economic, trade, and aerospace areas,” he told the Russian President. Raisi Also stressed that Tehran- Moscow cooperation can “neutralize” the effects of US sanctions on both countries.

President Raisi and his government consider relations with Moscow and Beijing and Iran’s full membership in SCO a powerful tool in overcoming US sanctions and their effects which have hugely affected the Iranian economy since 2018 when former US President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear agreement (JCPOA) and slapped crippling sanctions on the country.

"The relationship between countries that are sanctioned by the US, such as Iran, Russia or other countries, can overcome many problems and issues and make them stronger," Raisi told Putin in the meeting.

"The Americans think whichever country they impose sanctions on, it will be stopped, their perception is a wrong one."

That is exactly what critics of the Biden Administration policy of reviving the JCPOA argue. Freeing Iran from US sanctions will open a back door for Russia to violate Western sanctions imposed on its energy exports and international banking. Already the two countries have deals for natural gas and oil swaps, which can help disguise Russian energy exports.

Putin meeting Iran's ruler Ali Khamenei in Tehran on July 19, 2022

Iran has also supported Russia's invasion of Ukraine and has delivered military drones to Moscow. Recent images from Ukraine show Iranian suicide drones being used in the war.

For his part, Putin announced in the meeting that a Russian delegation of 80 large companies are to visit Tehran next week now that Iran has signed documents pertaining to full membership in SCO.

The Russian President said Tehran and Moscow actively cooperate on the international arena and their positions “coincide” on many issues. He added that many joint projects are moving forward “thanks to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s support.” “We are interested in his further support,” he said.

Referring to Iran’s membership in SCO, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said in a tweet Wednesday that Iran “acts dynamically, intelligently and balanced in realizing the strategic goals of its foreign policy and expanding its foreign relations” but “does not wait for the JCPOA and the return of the United States to its JCPOA commitment” despite adhering to the talks for the restoration of the deal.

The SCO summit which brings together leaders of China, Russia, India, Pakistan and four ex-Soviet Central Asian countries together will ends on Friday. The Eurasian political, economic and security organization was founded by China, Russia, and four former Soviet republics in 2001 and has since expanded its membership to include India and Pakistan.

SCO approved Iran's application for accession last year at a conference in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, in September after many years of a slow process.

In a tweet Wednesday, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian who is accompanying the president said he had signed a memorandum of commitments to join the organization as a full member, calling a "new phase" of economic, trade, transit, energy, and other cooperation with the body.

According to SCO deputy secretary-general Grigory Logvinov, it may take some time for Iran to complete the accession procedure.

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