Putin to visit Iran as Biden admin chases nuclear deal

Putin may discuss a deal to obtain drones from Iran to use in the invasion of Ukraine

Updated: July 12, 2022 - 7:23pm

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Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to visit Iran next week as the Biden administration is still negotiating to revive the Obama-era nuclear deal with Tehran.

While there, Putin may discuss a deal to obtain drones from Iran to use in Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

It is unclear whether Iran has already delivered the UAVs, but U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Monday said intelligence indicates the Islamic Republic is preparing to give Russia "several hundred UAVs, including weapons-capable UAVs, on an expedited timeline."

Putin plans on meeting with leaders from Iran and Turkey to discuss Syria-related issues, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, The Associated Press reported. 

The Russian president will have a separate meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who previously acted as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine. 

Putin's trip comes after President Joe Biden's visit to Israel and Saudi Arabia this week.

The Biden administration is still attempting to revive the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna on Tuesday expressed doubts that the deal would be reached and said there are only a few weeks left to come to an agreement before it is too late, Reuters reported.

However, a Biden administration official indicated in January that the United States had "only a handful of weeks left" to reenter the nuclear deal before Iran would have enough weapons-grade fissile material to produce a bomb, which is exactly what the deal is seeking to avoid.

Iran announced earlier this week it has started enriching uranium up to 20% purity in new underground centrifuges, one step closer to the 90% purity required for weapons-grade levels.

The Biden administration came under fire last week for allowing some immigrants with terrorist ties into the United States in what former National Security Advisor John Bolton said was "bending the knee to the Ayatollah."