Russian FM calls for ‘collective’ Palestine action in meeting with Raisi

The Cradle, October 24, 2023 —

The Iranian president expressed hope that Russian influence at the UN Security Council could help alleviate the dire crisis in Gaza

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Tehran on 23 October, holding talks with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi after participating in a regional cooperation platform hosted by the Islamic Republic. 

“In a traditionally trusting atmosphere, current aspects of the bilateral agenda were substantively discussed with an emphasis on further building up the entire complex of multifaceted Russian-Iranian partnership,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement early on 24 October. 

The talks were held “in accordance with the agreements reached between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.”

During the discussions, the two sides “highlighted the implementation of joint projects in the fields of energy and logistics, including the full launch of the North-South international transport corridor.” 

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian also took part in the meetings. 

The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is a recently launched international shipping corridor aimed at cooperation outside the constraints of western sanctions. Last year, the first shipment of goods between India and Russia was completed through Iran via the INSTC. 

“Additional steps to further strengthen Russian-Iranian ties have been agreed,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. 

Lavrov and Raisi also discussed the Palestinian issue and Israel’s ongoing war against civilians in the Gaza Strip, which began after Hamas launched a daring operation targeting the Israeli settlements in the Gaza envelope on 7 October. 

“I am convinced that no one can reconcile Palestinians and the Israelis single-handedly like the United States has been trying to do for years,” Lavrov said. 

“It is necessary to act based on the collective potential of countries and the region, and, probably, the European Union and the United States, as it is difficult to do without it here. But it is necessary to act collectively, not unilaterally,” he added. 

In the meeting, Raisi condemned the Israeli bombing campaign in Gaza as “a horrible crime against defenseless children and women,” which is being supported by Washington and the west. 

“Today, the US is trying to get resolutions approved at the UN Security Council in order to achieve whatever it has been unable to attain on the field when it comes to protecting its racist interests and supporting the Zionist regime,” the Iranian president said. 

“This is why nations are hopeful that Russia, with regard to its position and influence at the Security Council, prevents the US from achieving its goal.” 

Raisi also referred in the meeting to a speech by US President Joe Biden years ago, in which he said, “If there were not an Israel, we’d have to invent one.” Biden repeated this comment recently. 

This shows “that the US seeks to establish its own interests even at the cost of the lives of children and women as well as the destruction of the homes of the Palestinian people,” Raisi added. 

Lavrov’s visit to Tehran comes just a week after a Russian-drafted resolution at the UN Security Council, which aimed for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and aid access, was rejected over what the US representative called a failure “to condemn Hamas.” 

While Hamas has released a few of its prisoners over the past few days as a gesture of goodwill, Israel has continued to impede Gaza’s access to humanitarian aid through the Rafah crossing with Egypt. 

Some aid trucks were let through the Rafah crossing over the weekend, yet not nearly enough to tackle the dire humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. 

Israel’s carpet bombing campaign has resulted in the killing of over 5,000 Palestinians. More than 2,000 of them are children. 

Before the discussions with Raisi, Lavrov attended the Ministerial Meeting of the Consultative Regional Platform for the South Caucasus. 

The foreign ministers of Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkiye were present. During the ministerial meeting, the Armenian and Azeri foreign ministers held their first talks since Azerbaijan took control over Nagorno-Karabakh, a long-disputed border region between the two countries. 

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