Kremlin cancels Putin’s meeting with Iran’s Parliament Speaker

A meeting of Iran's Parliament Speaker, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which was scheduled for Saturday, was cancelled.

Ghalibaf is on a three-day visit to Moscow.

According to Iranian MP Mojtaba Tavangar, the meeting was cancelled after Ghalibaf refused to accept the health protocols required for the meetings with the Russian President.

According to reports, very few people are allowed to have face-to-face meeting with Putin, as he remains confined to a virus-free bubble. Those who meet with him are required to be quarantined before seeing him.

Ghalibaf was expected to meet with top Russian officials, including Putin and State Duma Chairman Viacheslav Volodin.

According to Tavangar, who also heads the economic commission in Iran's parliament, Ghalibaf's three-day visit to Moscow is intended to boost Tehran-Moscow economic cooperation, including exports of oil to Russia and other allies.

Tavangar also said Ghalibaf was expected to deliver a message to Putin from Iran's Supreme Leader.

According to sources, the message could be about changing regional dynamics in the wake of the change in leadership in the US.

Ghalibaf will now have to deliver the message to Putin through Putin’s special envoy.

Ghalibaf’s visit to Moscow comes amid continued uncertainty over the fate of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, with neither Tehran nor the new US administration willing to make concessions.

Tehran has rejected possibility of any renegotiations on the deal, demanding that Washington return to its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Washington wants Tehran to return to full compliance first.

Iran's parliament has set Feb. 21 as a deadline for Biden’s administration to lift sanctions, warning that it would halt inspections by the UN nuclear agency and speed up uranium enrichment.

Ghalibaf's visit to Moscow comes days after Foreign Minister Javad Zarif's visit to Russia.

Zarif met with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and discussed the JCPOA and regional cooperation.

  Iran, Russia