(Photo credit: Xinhua News)
Late on 24 February, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi held a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart during which he said that the continued expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a “serious threat” to regional security and stability.
“The continued expansion of NATO is a serious threat against the stability and security of independent countries in various regions of the world,” the Iranian president said.
“I hope what is happening will benefit peoples and the entire region,” Raisi went on to add.
For his part, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the ongoing military operation in Ukraine is “a legitimate response” to decades of violations of security agreements by the West.
The phone call came following the start of Moscow’s special military operation in the eastern parts of Ukraine, particularly in the Donbass region, which began after the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk asked Russia for military assistance in response to years of aggression by Ukrainian forces.
The two world leaders also spoke about the ongoing sanctions-removal talks in Vienna between Tehran and western powers, with Raisi specifying that the Islamic Republic seeks to achieve a sustainable agreement, not a temporary one.
In response, Putin emphasized the need for the Moscow and Tehran to continue consultations in regards to the Vienna talks.
The talks between Iran and the P4+1 group of countries – Russia, China, France, and the UK plus Germany – began in April of 2021 and seek to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal.
In 2018, former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the deal and re-imposed severe sanctions on the Islamic Republic. In response, Tehran eventually began developing its nuclear energy program past the parameters established in the JCPOA.