Khamenei meets Putin and denounces the US

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (C) receives a gift from Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) in Tehran November 23, 2015. REUTERS/ via Reuters

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei meets Russia’s President Putin in Tehran on 23 November
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Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, at a meeting with Russian President Putin in Tehran, said on Monday that US policies in the Middle East region were a threat to both countries and called for closer ties between Tehran and Moscow.

The statement signals an unprecedented alignment between the Islamic Republic and Russia that is likely to divide the global community between those seeking to normalise relations with Tehran as quickly as possible after nuclear-related sanctions are relaxed and others led by the US that see the deal as an initial and reversible tactical initiative.

“The Americans have a long-term plot and are trying to dominate Syria and then the whole region … This is a threat to all countries, especially Russia and Iran,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, according to his website, at the meeting on the sidelines of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) Summit in Tehran.

“The United States is now trying to achieve its failed military objectives in Syria by political means,” he added, referring to proposed peace talks to end the civil war in Syria.

A Kremlin spokesman was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying that Putin and Khamenei had agreed at their talks that global powers should not impose their political will on Syria.

Putin, on his first visit to Iran since 2007, presented an old edition of the Koran, the Muslim holy book, to Khamenei, the Iranian leader’s website said, publishing photos of the book.

Khamenei praised Putin for “neutralizing Washington’s plots” and said economic relations between the two countries could “expand beyond the current level”.

Tehran and Moscow have stepped up ties following a landmark nuclear deal in July between Iran and six world powers including Russia and the US. Under the deal, Tehran agreed long-term curbs on its nuclear program in exchange for an easing of economic sanctions.

On Monday Putin relaxed an export ban on nuclear equipment and technology to Iran.Iran’s ambassador to Russia also said on Monday that Moscow had started the process of supplying Tehran with an S-300 anti-missile rocket system.

Russia and Iran are undertaking joint military action in support of Assad. Backed by Russian air strikes, hundreds of Iranian troops have arrived since late September to take part in a ground offensive planned in western and northwestern Syria, their biggest deployment in the country to date,Reuters reports.