The beginning of Russian-Iranian diplomatic relations dates from 1586. In that year Tsar Feodor Ivanovich (1584-98), son and successor to Ivan IV, sent an embassy to Iran, with Prince Tyufyakin at its head. His successors, Tsar Boris Godunov and Tsar Vasili Shuysky, carried on these lively contacts with Iran despite the unfavourable conditions of those troubled times. The contact continued during the reign of Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich Romanov (1613-45). Russia and Iran were, at that time, united by their mutual interest in putting an end to Turkish aggression. The Sefevi dynasty came to power in Iran at the beginning of the sixteenth century and towards the end of that century had attained enough power to stand up to the Ottoman Empire. It was for that reason that the Russian Tsars sought to conclude an alliance with Shah Abbas I (1587-1629), and were met with a positive response.1