Visiting Tehran on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin has strongly backed Iran over the July 2015 nuclear agreement, and hailed cooperation with the Islamic Republic over Syria’s conflict.

During a trilateral summit which also included the Azerbaijani leader, Putin was received by the Supreme Leader and held discussions with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

According to Ayatollah Khamenei’s office, Putin told the Supreme Leader that Moscow opposes “any unilateral change” to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action: “We oppose linking Iran’s nuclear program with other issues, including defensive issues.”

The statement was a response to Donald Trump’s denunciation of the “embarrassment” of the deal, including his decertification of Iranian compliance on October 13. The Trump Administration has announced sanctions on the Revolutionary Guards, and has said that it wants to renegotiate the accord to including Iran’s ballistic missile testing.

Addressing Syria, Putin praised cooperation with Iran as “very productive”, declaring that Moscow and Tehran are “managing to coordinate our positions on the Syrian issue”.

There were no details beyhond that assertion, including on the differing views of Russia and Iran towards opposition-held areas such as Idlib Province in northwest Syria. Moscow is pushing “de-escalation zones” throughout the country, and looking for political talks through a “people’s congress” that would limit the main opposition to Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad.

See Syria Daily, Nov 1: Russia’s Next Move — A “People’s Congress”

Despite formally joining Russia in the initiativies, Iran is wary of any arrangement in which the opposition and rebels retain control of parts of Syria.

Rouhani said on Wednesday that cooperation between Tehran and Moscow is necessary to “bring stability and peace to Syria” and to “fight against regional terrorism”. Meanwhile, Khamenei proclaimed:

Full resolution of Syria’s crisis needs strong cooperation between Iran and Russia….Our cooperation can isolate America….This cooperation will restore stability in the region.

The Supreme Leader continued:

The failure of the American alliance in support of terrorists in Syria is an undeniable fact, but they are still engaged in plotting and conspiracy. Thus, the full resolution of the Syrian issue needs sustained, firm cooperation….

The good combination and the cooperative resistance of Tehran and Moscow against the sedition and corruption of terrorists in Syria is significant, and it has made Russia an influential player in the Western Asia region.

Khamenei: End Trade in US Dollars

The Supreme Leader praised Iran-Russia economic cooperation, using the transportation sector as an example and looking to a link all the way from the southern Iranian port of Chabahar to St. Petersburg.

He then suggested that, to counter US sanctions, the two countries could trade directly in their currencies:

By ignoring the negative propaganda of the enemies, that seek to weaken relations between countries, we can nullify US sanctions, using methods such as eliminating the dollar and replacing it with national currencies in transactions between two or more parties; thus, isolate the Americans.

Iran and Russia have periodically stated the intention to deal directly in their currencies but have never moved to implement the proposal.

Supreme Leader to Students: “Foolish” Trump

Addressing students on Thursday, Khamenei criticized Donald Trump’s “foolish” remarks, portraying them as an attack on the Iranian people:

As you witnessed recently, the head of US administration said the Iranian nation is a “terrorist nation”.

You see how foolish this attitude is? He calls a nation terrorist. He does not say the leader is terrorist; he does not say the government is terrorist; he says the Iranian nation is terrorist.

Is it not hostility?

Continuing to portray the US Government’s assault as one against all Iranians, rather than the leadership, the Spreme Leader said, “This foolish comment indicates that not only are the Americans the enemies of the Iranian leadership and government, they also show hostility and enmity towards the very existence of a nation that stands against them tirelessly.”

He declared, “The US is, in the real sense of the word, the main evil enemy.”

The Supreme Leader also accused the US Government of “using all the wickedness to destroy the fruit of the nuclear talks”, the July 2015 agreement.

Khamenei’s speech marks the start of cermonies for November 4, the date of the takeover of the US Embassy just after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, as “National Day of Fight Against Global Arrogance”.

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