Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Thursday called for more cooperation between countries that are targeted by US sanctions in a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
“The relationship between countries that are sanctioned by the US, such as Iran, Russia or other countries, can overcome many problems and issues and make them stronger,” Raisi said, according to AFP.
“The Americans think whichever country they impose sanctions on, it will be stopped. Their perception is a wrong one,” the Iranian leader added.
Iran said it signed a Memorandum of Obligations to become a permanent member of the SCO, which is a Central Asian security and economic bloc aimed at countering Western influence in the region. Its members include Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.
Facing similar pressure from the West, Russia, China, and Iran have forged closer ties in recent years. Tehran is looking to increase trade with countries in the SCO as it remains under heavy sanctions and is isolated from the US-led global financial system.
Moscow and Beijing have drastically increased trade in recent years, and China has helped Russia weather Western sanctions imposed after the invasion of Ukraine by significantly increasing Russian oil purchases. India has also become a major buyer of Russian oil, bringing Russian oil profits higher than before the war.
Putin met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday, and the two leaders touted cooperation. Putin said that in 2021, trade between Russia and China increased by 35% to over $140 billion. In the first seven months of 2022, Putin said trade increased by 25%, and he expects annual trade to reach $200 billion soon.