Merkel, Putin discuss Iran crisis as Russia’s increased regional clout gives it options

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow today to discuss rising tensions in the Middle

putin merkel iran

Photo: Reuters/ C Platiau

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow today to discuss rising tensions in the Middle East—particularly the US-Iran crisis.

The tense US-Iran relationship hit a boiling point this week when a US drone killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad. After months of increasing US sanctions and further Iranian steps towards uranium enrichment, Tehran is now refusing to abide by any of the limitations set by the 2015 nuclear agreement. Iran is refusing to buckle to US economic pressure or military attacks, as clearly demonstrated by its decision to fire missiles at US military installations in Iraq in response to Soleimani’s assassination.

With further tit-for-tat escalations between the US and Iran likely, Merkel will today attempt to persuade her Russian counterpart to assist with de-escalation. Given both Tehran and Moscow support the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, their relationship has strengthened over the last few years.

Moscow has so far described Soleimani’s killing as ‘reckless’ and disallowed the UN from condemning Iran’s attack on the US embassy in Baghdad. Expect Russia to use this turmoil to propagate itself as a more reliable Middle East power broker than the US.

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