As experts and observers continue to worry about the potential for a coming global conflict, we have witnessed a number of consolidations of authoritarian power that appear to be drawing the battle lines of World War III.
The latest dirge toward tyranny comes to us from Russia and Iran, as the two authoritarian nations continue to bolster their relationship during the former’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Iran starting Tuesday is intended to deepen ties with regional heavyweights as part of Moscow’s challenge to the United States and Europe amid its grinding campaign in Ukraine.Advertisement - story continues below
In only his second trip abroad since Russian tanks rolled into its neighbor in February, Putin is scheduled to hold talks with Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the pressing issues facing the region, including the conflict in Syria and a U.N.-backed proposal to resume exports of Ukrainian grain to ease the global food crisis.
As the West heaps sanctions on Russia and the costly campaign drags on, Putin is seeking to bolster ties with Tehran, a fellow target of severe U.S. sanctions and a potential military and trade partner. In recent weeks, Russian officials visited an airfield in central Iran at least twice to review Tehran’s weapons-capable drones for possible use in Ukraine, the White House has alleged.
But there was more:
But perhaps most crucially, the Tehran trip offers Putin a chance for a high-stakes meeting with Erdogan, who has sought to help broker talks on a peaceful settlement of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as well as help negotiations to unblock Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea.
Russia’s troubled invasion of Ukraine was boosted recently by Iran’s providing of arms and munitions.