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Iranian leader hopes for stronger ties with Russia

RIA Novosti

29/01/2007 09:43 TEHRAN, January 28 (RIA Novosti) - At a meeting in Tehran with a senior Russian diplomat focusing on Iran's nuclear program, the country's president said he hoped ongoing high-level consultations would strengthen bilateral ties.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov on Sunday, "We hope that continual high-level consultations between our countries will accelerate the development of economic, political and cultural relations between Russia and Iran."

The president highlighted the historical links between the countries, and their shared interests in international and regional security, and cooperation in the energy sphere.

"Some powers outside the region do not want Russia and Iran, as two powerful countries, to play an important role in ensuring stability and security in the region and globally. This testifies to the importance of cooperation and exchange of opinions between Moscow and Tehran," the leader said.

Russia, a key economic partner of Iran, is building a $1 billion nuclear power plant in the south of the country. Moscow, along with Beijing, has consistently taken a softer line on international sanctions against the Islamic Republic over its controversial nuclear program.

The UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution on Iran late last year, which imposed sanctions on the country's nuclear weapons programs but allowed officials to make foreign trips and companies to do business abroad. The sanctions banned activities involving uranium enrichment, chemical reprocessing, heavy water-based projects, and production of means for nuclear weapons delivery.

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