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International relations

Putin forges ties with Iran's supreme leader in Tehran talks

Russian leader's trip signals Moscow's intent of further Middle East involvement

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, in discussion with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during talks in Tehran on July 19.   © AP

LONDON/DUBAI (Reuters) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin had talks with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Iran on Tuesday, the Kremlin leader's first trip outside the former Soviet Union since Moscow's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

In Tehran, Putin also held his first face-to-face meeting since the invasion with a NATO leader, Turkey's Tayyip Erdogan, to discuss a deal that would resume Ukraine's Black Sea grain exports as well as the conflict in northern Syria.

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