Footage of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Iran this week has revived talks about his health.
The Russian head of state struggled to go down the stairs of his jet after landing Tuesday at Mehrabad airport in the Iranian capital of Tehran, The Mirror reported.
“The man who arrives behind him seems to have no trouble using the steps facing front, but Putin turns sideways and takes the last one clumsily,” body language expert Judi James told the outlet.
“This could be down to height or even age, but he appears to be making heavy duty of it,” she added.
Putin’s right arm appeared rigid and stiff as he limped down the red carpet rolled out for him, footage showed.
Putin’s previous public appearances have fueled speculations that he may have Parkinson’s disease or even cancer.
None of the claims have been verified, and the Russian government has denied all the rumors, a report by 7News.com.au said.
Putin met with Iran’s leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well as Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during his visit. He also met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Russian leader reportedly hopes to form a new alliance in the face of Western sanctions imposed on his country due to the invasion of Ukraine. He allegedly seeks to boost ties in “energy, transit and commercial exchanges, as well as regional developments,” the Iranian government claimed.
“I am very pleased to be on the hospitable Iranian soil… We can boast about record figures in terms of trade growth,” Putin said during a bilateral meeting with Raisi.
A “significant” commitment to security cooperation between Russia and Iran was also discussed, according to Raisi.
“World events show Iran and Russia’s need for increasing mutual cooperation,” said Khamenei, who also claimed that mutual cooperation between Russia and Iran would be “deeply beneficial.”
Putin’s visit comes as Iran’s national oil company, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), signed a $40 billion memorandum of understanding with Russian state-owned gas company Gazprom.
Gazprom will help NIOC in the development of the Kish and North Pars gas fields and six oil fields, Iran’s oil ministry’s news agency SHANA said.
The Russian gas company will also be involved in the completion of liquefied natural gas projects and the construction of gas export pipelines, Reuters reported.