This week’s visit of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Moscow was a much-anticipated event not only in Russia and Iran, but throughout the region.
The parties intending to emphasize its significance brought up the numbers: the first foreign trip of Rouhani this year, the first encounter in a purely bilateral setting, the ninth meeting of Vladimir Putin and Rouhani in total. Outside observers were racking their brains guessing what issue would dominate the agenda. Some suggested it would be arms purchases and energy deals, while others believed it would be more about strengthening bilateral trade and economic relations. At the end of the day, it mattered little since all of this — and a lot more — was to be thoroughly discussed during the two-day visit. What mattered a lot was the very context before and around the meeting.