The initiative to hold a trilateral meeting came from Russian President Vladimir Putin. On April 26, in Beijing, as part of the "One Belt - One Way" International Forum, Putin informed President Ilham Aliyev of an upcoming meeting between the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran in August. Then the President of Azerbaijan said, "The transport and logistics sphere is an important area of cooperation, and here we have good results ... I think that the level of relations today allows solving many issues on the bilateral and regional agenda."
Putin"s statement was broadcast just after the United States imposed yet another sanction against Iran, this time, including against the personal office of the country's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and foreign Iranian assets worth billions of dollars.
It is possible that Putin"s decision to plan a tripartite meeting was dictated by an attempt to clarify to Washington that Moscow would seek forced consolidation with Iran in case of worsening the Russian-American relations (after in October 2018 the United States announced withdrawal from the Treaty on medium and short-range missiles and the imposition of sanctions against Russian companies).
Apparently, this signal was heard. According to the Russian agency RBC, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan on June 28, Presidents Trump and Putin agreed during a bilateral meeting that improving relations between Russia and the US is in the interests of the world community. This summary was the result of a discussion of Iran, Ukraine, Syria, and Venezuela and arms control.
Further more. On July 31, two weeks before the meeting of the three, Trump phoned Putin formally on assistance with Siberian fires. However, they discussed no less important issues, like trade relations between the two countries, the need to appoint a new US ambassador to Moscow instead of John Huntsman who is leaving the end of 2019. The latter became known because of information leakage through CNN. There were no other leaks.
The statement of John Bolton, the National Security Advisor to American President, made on 14 August in an interview with "The Voice of America" radio station confirms the fact that the reason for the postponement of the Sochi meeting by the Russians is the triangle of Iran-Russia-USA contradictions. Bolton said in an interview, "I think, President Trump believes that he has a very good personal relationship with President Putin."
According to the adviser, "there are many issues on which we have disagreements, no doubt," but Trump hopes that his personal relationship with Putin "will lead to something more."
Bolton"s statement was announced on August 14, the very day the meeting of the Troika was due to take place in Sochi. Americans love to emphasize symbolism.
The statement by Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation, that the meeting is being postponed "due to the need for more detailed coordination of the schedules" of the presidents and "finding an appropriate time to synchronize these schedules", was made on August 13, that is, the day before the summit . This means the Kremlin"s decision was made at lightning speed and the presidents of Iran and Azerbaijan were confronted with a fact. Three days before the meeting, a representative of the press service of the Iranian president"s administration, Parviz Esmaili, said that some meetings will be held with the presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan in the framework of the summit in Sochi. During the meetings, they will discuss critical issues of bilateral relations, and a joint statement will be adopted on the results of a tripartite summit.
This is also additional evidence that the Iranian side prepared for the summit in a negotiated mode and participated in the preparation of a draft joint statement.
It is difficult to say whether the Azerbaijani side was informed in advance about the postponement of the meeting, but the fact that President Ruhani phoned Aliyev immediately after the Kremlin"s decision to cancel the summit says a lot. Formally, the call of Rouhani coincided with Kurban Bayram (the call was made on the third day of the festival of sacrifice), but in fact with the aim of discussing other issues. "Both leaders also noted the importance of mutual visits by senior officials for the development of mutually beneficial cooperation," the Iranian President"s press service said.
It is noteworthy that this phone call is not mentioned on the website of the President of Azerbaijan, which usually does not neglect the coverage of such conversations.
From all this it follows that Putin today preferred to improve US-Russian relations to the allied relations with Iran. For Tehran, this is bad news amid growing sanctions and expanding international isolation. Russia has already received dividends from US anti-Iranian policy.
On August 16, 2019, the U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela brought Russian oil companies at least $ 905 million additional revenue between November and July,bloomberg reported on August 16. According to the publication, due to the lack of two large exporters on the market, they began to buy oil from Russia more often.
"Currently, there is a shortage of competing heavier and crude oil as a result of sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, as well as due to the current OPEC + agreement to reduce production," said JBC Energy analyst Constanta Rangelova, adding that the cost of a barrel of Russian Urals reached maximum performance in relation to Brent.
Previously novayagazeta.ru reported that, over the past six months, Russia has sharply increased oil supplies to the United States. This was due to sanctions against Venezuela and a decrease in crude oil production by members of the organization of oil exporting countries.