President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, colleagues and friends,
I want to extend my warmest greetings.
Iran is our long-term traditional partner, our neighbour and our closest partner in the Caspian Sea cooperation. Russia and Iran have a long tradition of communication and cooperation. Russia has great respect for the history of Iran and its present-day life and people.
Today our economic interaction is quite extensive. We are constantly in contact on all matters on the international agenda.
I remember your warm hospitality during my visit to Tehran. I would like to convey my best wishes to all our friends and hope to see you in Russia. We are in constant contact with regard to the acute problems that are now referred to as “Iran’s nuclear programme” throughout the world.
You have completed extensive work on the construction of a nuclear power plant in Bushehr. The plant has been launched, it is gaining momentum and will soon reach its full capacity. We have always supported the right of the Iranian people to modern technology, including the peaceful use of nuclear energy. However, I want to emphasise that I mean only the peaceful use.
You know our position: we are consistent supporters of the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We are also familiar with your position and the position of the Iranian leadership, which is that Iran is not working on creating nuclear weapons. That is what we proceed from.
I am very happy to have this opportunity to meet with you and our colleagues today on the sidelines of the SCO summit, to discuss a wide range of bilateral issues and outline the prospects for the development of our contacts (I am confident that there is at least one area – economic cooperation – where we can achieve much more than we have up until now), as well as talk about the preparations for the next Caspian summit.
The legal issues in the Caspian have not been completely settled, but no one is interested in resolving the problems of the Caspian Sea as much as the Caspian littoral states.
I am very happy to see you.
President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (retranslated): I am very glad to see you again. I would like to congratulate you on your victory in the presidential election and I am sure Russia is facing a period of prosperity with you in this position.
I agree with you on the points you have made. We have good experience in the long history of cooperation between our countries. We are friends and neighbours, who must work together to expand this cooperation – both history and the future demand it.
We attach great importance to Russia. Russia is a powerful and great nation that was able to recover from great problems with honour and take its rightful place in the international arena. Our approach to relations with Russia is commitment to stable cooperation, and we see no obstacles to its growth.
As you correctly pointed out, the Bushehr nuclear power plant has become a symbol of positive and constructive cooperation between our two countries, so we can expand interaction in various spheres. With regard to trade and economic ties, we are ready both to increase trade and to expand mutual investment.
We can also develop cooperation in culture and tourism. The Caspian Sea is a good foundation for interaction between our two countries. I believe that Russia and Iran can reach an understanding and invite other countries to take part in this dialogue. We have a good opportunity to use the full potential of the Caspian basin.
The current situation in the region and the world requires a more serious and broader cooperation between Iran and Russia. In other words, Russia and Iran are now on the same side. There are those who are opposed to progress and development of both Russia and Iran. Our cooperation can contribute to strengthening stability and security in the region, especially considering the fact that NATO has now turned its gaze to the east.
I believe that we can negotiate and agree on achieving a breakthrough in relations between our countries given the fact that both Your Excellency and I are interested in it. I think we have all the prerequisites for such a step. This applies to the customs infrastructure and interbank cooperation, as well as the issues of standards. We can open the way to growing bilateral trade and investment. I think this is realistic, not only for our two nations, but also for the two states.
We have had a very constructive telephone conversation, and your visit to Tehran was excellent. Our views are very close to yours, we have reached a number of important agreements, which has allowed us to open the door to a more active development of cooperation in the future.
On my part, I am very interested in paying a visit to Moscow and make a return gesture to your visit to Tehran. I am confident that relations between our two nations, two states will expand and deepen further.