Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi has expressed the Islamic Republic’s support for Russia’s national sovereignty following the aborted mutiny by the paramilitary Wagner group.
In a Monday phone conversation, President Raeisi and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, discussed the Friday mutiny by Yevgeny Prigozhin and his Wagner group.
During the call, Raeisi said Iran believes that the presence of extra-regional forces poses a threat to all regional countries.
The two presidents also exchanged views on the situation in the Caucasus, where tensions continue to simmer between Azerbaijan and Armenia following their second war over Karabakh in 2020.
“We follow the developments in the Caucasus region carefully and seriously and believe that the conflicts in Caucasus should be resolved with regional countries playing a role in it,” Raeisi added.
For his part, Putin briefed Raeisi on the recent armed insurrection in his country and said Moscow acted powerfully in dealing with the mutiny.
The Russian president also pointed to the adverse consequences of the moves by extra-regional forces regarding the developments in the Caucasus, and said the issue should be settled through cooperation and coordination among the neighboring states of the region.
The Kremlin also confirmed the phone call between Raeisi and Putin and said, “The Iranian president expressed full support for the Russian leadership in connection with the June 24 events.”
The mutiny started over differences between Prigozhin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
The Wagner chief had accused Russia’s military top brass of ordering a rocket attack on the group’s field camps in Ukraine — where Russia has been leading a military operation — killing “huge numbers” of his paramilitary forces. Authorities in Moscow strongly denied his claim.
Following negotiations with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko aimed at deescalating the situation, the leader of Wagner paramilitary forces ordered his fighters on Saturday to turn around from their march towards Moscow to avoid bloodshed.
In a post on Twitter earlier on Monday, Mohammad Jamshidi, the Iranian president’s deputy chief of staff for political affairs, also pointed to the phone call between Raeisi and Putin and said that the Russian leader emphasized that the events had failed to challenge Russia’s national sovereignty.
Also on Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov rejected any foreign interference in the domestic affairs of countries and said the events in Russia were of an “absolutely domestic nature.”
He added that Iran supports the rule of law in all countries, including in the “neighboring and friendly country of Russia.”
In their Monday phone conversation, the Iranian and Russian presidents also discussed trade and economic relations and urged speedy implementation of the agreements already signed between the two countries.
Raeisi and Putin said Tehran-Moscow cooperation in the North-South Corridor can serve as a successful example of cooperation between two countries which could be expanded in other sectors.
Iran, together with India and Russia, is pushing forward with the sea and rail corridor that could substantially reduce the time and cost of shipping goods from India to Europe.
The 7,200-km multimode route was proposed by the three countries in 2000. Later, the number of participants expanded to 14.
It envisages a network of ship, rail and road for freight transport that will cut carriage costs by about 30-60% and transit time from 40 days to about 20 days.
The goal of the project is to attract transit cargo traffic from India, Iran and the Persian Gulf through the Russian territory to Europe.
Now the project combines several different transport systems of individual states.