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Iranian President Rohani Visiting Moscow To Meet With Putin

Iranian President Hassan Rohani is beginning a two-day visit to Russia on March 27 and will meet with President Vladimir Putin the following day.

The trip is expected to be the Iranian leader's last foreign journey before scheduled elections in his country on May 19.

Iranian state-run IRNA news agency said Rohani and Putin have met at least eight times previously -- in Tehran, the Russian city of Ufa, and at third-country events.

The official Russian government said the Iranian and Russian leaders will discuss trade, the economy, and energy.

But the international geopolitical situation, the Syrian war, and other conflicts in the Middle East are sure to be on the agenda.

Russia and Iran support Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad's government forces in the country's six-year civil war against rebel groups supported by the United States and Turkey.

"The visit shows the importance that Russia has in Iranian foreign policy," Mohsen Milani, author of The Making of Iran's Islamic Revolution: From Monarchy to Islamic Republic, told The Washington Post.

The Iranians are "playing a key role in Putin's longer-term strategy to become a major player in the Middle East," he added.

Rohani is scheduled to begin his visit by meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on March 27, officials said.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.


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