The Ukraine conflict has complicated Iran’s relationship with Russia. On the one hand it has them closer together, with both subjected to stringent western sanctions and restrictions on oil sales, but on the other hand displaced Russian oil exports will increasingly be competing directly with Iran.

Amid this diplomatic upheaval, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak visited Tehran on 25 May at the head of a trade delegation of 50 Russian companies. Mr Novak called Iran “a reliable trade and economic partner,” while his co-chair of the two countries’ joint intergovernmental committee, Petroleum Minister Javad Owji optimistically called for cooperation to neutralize sanctions according to ministry outlet Shana. (CONTINUED - 1105 WORDS)