Russia, Iran pledge to strengthen bilateral relations

Russia, Iran pledge to strengthen bilateral relations

President Vladimir Putin and his acting Iranian counterpart Mohammad Mokhber meet on sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Astana

By Elena Teslova

MOSCOW (AA) – Russian President Vladimir Putin and his acting Iranian counterpart Mohammad Mokhber met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Kazakh capital Astana on Thursday and pledged to strengthen bilateral relations.

Putin began the meeting by wishing the Iranian people a "successful second round of the presidential election," noting that relations between Moscow and Tehran would continue to strengthen regardless of the poll results.

The Russian president acknowledged a drop in bilateral trade in 2023 but hoped that Iran's accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), a regional economic cooperation organization, would help address the issue.

"The member states of the organization are considering Iran's application for observer state status at the EAEU. For our part, we support this," Putin stated.

The Russian president also highlighted the increase in tourism between the two countries, noting that the number of tourists in Iran has increased by a quarter.

"I would also like to point out that our approaches to key international issues are nearly identical. We are united in our desire to create a multipolar world order, adhere to all international law norms, and maintain the central role of the United Nations," he added.

Mokhber, for his part, emphasized that Iran's spiritual leader devised the strategy of establishing very close, deep relations with Russia and is constantly overseeing its implementation.

"The spiritual leader said that our relations with the Russian Federation are so deep and unchangeable that changes in the government do not affect these relations in any way," Mokhber noted.

The Iranian leader also thanked Putin for his condolences on the deaths of the previous president, Ebrahim Raisi, and several other officials in the May 19 helicopter crash.

"It is evident that the strategic relations between Iran and Russia interfere with the global dominance equation, and the unilateral system has already become obsolete," he said.

On May 19, a helicopter carrying the Iranian president, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian crashed in the Iranian province of East Azerbaijan.

A day later, the head of the Iranian Red Crescent Society, Pir Hussein Kolivand, declared that all passengers and crew of the helicopter died in the crash.

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