Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi signed a cooperation roadmap for the years 2023-2026 following talks in Tehran, the BelTA news agency reported on Monday. This was also reported in Russian state media. Lukashenko is currently on an official two-day visit to Iran.
Iran International, a media group based outside of Iran critical of Tehran’s regime, noted that the Belarus leader was in Iran to discuss bilateral ties on economic issues. He was scheduled to meet with Iranian Vice-President Mohammad Mokhber and parliament speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf as well as the supreme leader.
Talks focused on industry, agriculture and other issues. It was not clear if defense ties were on the agenda.
Talks follow Iran-Saudi Arabia rapprochement
The talks came after Iran signed a deal with Saudi Arabia in China, a deal that was also aided by Iraq. Iran claims it is also in talks with the US on a prisoner swap, leading to an image of itself as entering a new era of diplomacy.
It was also reported recently that Russia is sending munitions captured in Ukraine to Iran for possible reverse engineering. These would likely be Western munitions that were sent to the beleaguered country.
Russian state media TASS said that the road map signed includes “comprehensive cooperation in the fields of politics, the economy, consular services, science and technology, education, culture, art, the media and tourism.”
The report goes on to note that “in addition, the parties signed an action plan dedicated to the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the field of plant quarantine and protection, and an agreement on the transfer of convicted prisoners to serve the remainder of their sentences.”
It’s not clear if this deal will have ramifications for the war in Ukraine. Belarus has backed Russia in general in the war but has not yet sent forces.
Iran has also backed Russia. With the Iranian deal with Saudi Arabia in the spotlight and Iran-China ties growing, this is indicative of a larger anti-Western alliance that Iran is trying to form with countries like Belarus and Russia.