Iranian conservative presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi met with visiting Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov — an encounter that Raisi probably did not expect would end up causing problems ahead of the May 19 presidential elections. The hard-line Tasnim News Agency, which is seen as backing Raisi and reported the meeting, described Minnikhanov as an envoy of Russian President Vladimir Putin, seemingly to highlight Raisi’s stature. During the meeting, Minnikhanov reportedly told Raisi, “We hope that the relationship between Iran and Tatarstan will be [further] developed.” He added, “Vladimir Putin gives special importance to the spread of religion, including Islam, as he has formed a strategic group, which I head, for developing relations with Islam [the Islamic world].”
Tatarstan is a federal republic in the Russian Federation, in the Volga region. In 2010, then-Russian President [and current Prime Minister] Dmitry Medvedev nominated Minnikhanov as its president.
Following the Minnikhanov-Raisi meeting, which was widely reported under the headline “Putin’s envoy met Raisi,” many moderates and Reformists harshly criticized the conservative presidential candidate.
Full Article: Is Putin interfering in Iran’s presidential elections?.