July 15 – Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will visit Iran next week to meet with leaders from the Islamic Republic and Turkey, to discuss a range of issues on the states’ agendas.

The Kremlin said Putin — who will arrive in Tehran on Tuesday — would also hold a separate meeting with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The proposed meetings have raised concerns among western states following a statement by the US which said it believed Iran was preparing to supply Russia with hundreds of drones. Russia is embroiled in a military battle to capture key territories inside Ukraine following its invasion of the country in February.

More than 2,700 activists called on Iran’s judiciary to reconsider the prison sentences for several environmentalists detained on spying charges.

The letter — signed by professors, former senior officials at the Environmental Protection Organization, artists and human rights advocates — asked for a review of their cases by Iran’s Ministry of Information and the Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Unit.

The cases received global attention after Iran’s then-Minister of Intelligence said the group were not spies and most likely innocent, while a former head of the Environmental Protection Organization said no evidence had been found to support the charges against them.

And Iran was ranked the fourth worst country in the world for gender equality in an annual index produced by the World Economic Forum, performing marginally better than the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

The gender gap index held that Iran ranked among the world’s worst countries for women’s participation in politics and economic opportunity.

The report also noted that gender equality had not improved around the world and that it would take an additional 132 years to close the gender gap.

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