President Vladimir Putin: Russia and Iran have always had close relations. We have always been neighbours and we always will be. There is a great deal of cooperation between our countries, and it takes place in multiple areas. Suffice to say that last year, the volume of trade grew by 43 percent. We have many shared regional interests, including in the area of the Caspian Sea.
I hope that after your election, this positive dynamic will continue. Moreover, as far as I know, while you were Mayor of Tehran you established very positive relations with our largest cities: Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
You already have a significant amount of positive experience in direct cooperation with Russia.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (translated from Russian): Many thanks. I would like to thank you for the complimentary message you sent me. It was both friendly and sincere and is an indicator of the depth and breadth of our bilateral relations.
As you have already noted, historical and natural conditions have traditionally resulted in a very close connection between our countries. On the regional, bilateral and international levels, our countries' interests are very close.
My trip to Moscow and meeting with Moscow Mayor Mr Luzhkov have left me with pleasant memories. The visits of Moscow and Saint Petersburg leadership have allowed relations with these regions to become closer. As you noted, we have many common interests in the region of the Caspian Sea. Our government is prepared to develop long-term relations with Russia. We are very happy that recent circumstances have allowed you to successfully resolve many of Russia's problems, and to strengthen your country's international authority. We recognise that a powerful Russia is Iran's best friend and that a powerful Iran is one of Russia's best partners. For this reason, we are glad that the Russian Federation's international status and state power are being strengthened.