Vladimir Putin: Mr Secretary of the Supreme Council, colleagues,
I am happy to welcome you here in Moscow. We highly value these direct contacts that have developed between the Russian and Iranian authorities. Iran is our neighbour – it is a good neighbour and our relations are developing in a positive way.
We both have common issues to discuss. I recall all our meetings with President Khatami, the meetings we had as part of the discussions on the Caspian, and also just recently in Malaysia.
Our economic ties are developing quite well and there are good prospects here. We have always cooperated actively with Iran in normalising the situation in the region. I would like to note the positive role Iran has played in resolving issues concerning Afghanistan and the high level of cooperation between Russia and Iran in this area. We are all very concerned by the overall situation in the Middle East. I think that today we will have an opportunity to exchange views with you on this subject. Finally, there is also the much discussed and sensitive subject of our nuclear cooperation and Iran’s nuclear programme. As a full participant in the international community, Iran has the right to develop its nuclear programmes in accordance with international rules and regulations.
We welcome the latest agreements reached between Iran and our European colleagues who recently visited Tehran – I am referring to the visit to Iran by the foreign ministers of four European countries.
We are very happy to see you here and we are sure that your visit will make a significant contribution to developing our bilateral relations.