Advisor to Iran's Khamenei in Moscow amid reports of US-Russian deal

Knesset member Robert Ilatov

Knesset member Robert Ilatov

Argentina has asked Russian Federation to arrest former Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati for extradition in connection with the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires, the foreign ministry said Thursday. As a result of the 2015 nuclear deal, a number of Western energy companies entered the Iranian energy sector.

Meanwhile Iranian news agency IRNA reported that during their meeting on Thursday, Velayati handed Putin two letters, one from Khamenei and the other from Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, without elaborating on their contents.

Both countries emphasized continuation of Astana talks between Iran, Russia and Turkey, he said. Washington says it will reimpose sanctions and has told other countries to halt all imports of Iranian oil from November 4 or face United States financial measures.

The Iranian spokesperson explained that Velayati's visit to Moscow was in line with such a policy and noted that he would also travel to China.

The meeting comes at a significant time for Iran.

A US State Department official said this month that Washington's goal was to get as many countries as possible down to zero Iranian oil imports.

Facing revived sanctions from the United States and the possible knock-on collapse of its business dealings with Europe, Iran is looking to Russian Federation and China for investment and to purchase its oil.

Argentina's government voiced its frustration with Russian President Vladimir Putin's administration on Thursday, after Moscow ignored a formal request from an Argentine judge to arrest a senior visiting Iranian official implicated in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires. Asked about Netanyahu's visit, Velayati said: "His presence or absence in Russian Federation has no effect on our strategic mission in Moscow".

Velayati also said Iran and Russian Federation would "continue to cooperate in Syria", where both countries support President Bashar al-Assad's forces in the seven-year civil war there.

Putin's meeting with Velayati followed Wednesday's talks in Moscow with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who restated Israel's determination that the Iranian military presence be removed from Syria entirely.

Trump and Putin are expected to discuss Iran's regional role and the Syrian conflict at a summit in Helsinki next Monday.

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