The most significant aspect of Putin’s trip to Tehran, from the Iranian leadership’s point of view, was that it took place at all, despite Washington’s hope for and, in all likelihood, expectation of last minute cancellation. This is why the trip is being touted as a success for Iranian diplomacy; displaying the fact that Iran is not as isolated as Washington portrays it to be.
And perhaps it was this modicum of success that made George Bush upset enough to raise for the first time in public the specter WW III, saying "If Iran had a nuclear weapon, it would be a dangerous threat to world peace…. So I told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.”
But the reality is that this trip so far has not broken new grounds in helping Iran get out of its nuclear predicament. In general, I think BBC’s Jon Leyne, has it right saying that Putin came to Tehran as “peacemaker… not to forge a new alliance. And the outcome of the meeting is still very much in the balance.”
Ali Larijani, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, did acknowledge that in his most important meeting in Tehran with Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, Putin “expressed a specific view and outlook that is under review.” But he refused to talk about the content of the message, instead choosing to reveal that the long awaited meeting between him and the European foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, will take place next Tuesday.
So much is yet to be seen and the views expressed by Mohammad Ali Abtahi, a cleric with close ties to former president Khatami, in his blog is probably a good indicator of the assessments, expectations (realistic or not) as well as skepticism found in Iran these days:
Putin’s trip must of course be considered a historical and important trip, a political success for Iran’s diplomacy, and important for Iran and Russia. The minimum Iranian expectation from this trip is for Russia to have committed itself in main discussions to a veto of the third sanctions resolution [against Iran]. But, if Russia like the prior instances ends up voting for sanctions, then by [making it possible for] Russia to be the only messenger of the West to Iran, this trip will only increase the price Russia can exact in its blackmail of the West and in the name of the people of Iran the government of Russia as always will end up being more gratified. What can make this trip appear successful to the people of Iran is the reduction of global pressure against the Iranian nation. In official news, there is nothing about this type of success that benefits the people.