03/29/2017, 14.45
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Business and Syria dominate Rouhani’s visit to Moscow

The Iranian president met with his Russian counterpart, Putin, and Prime Minister Medvedev. The two sides signed 14 documents on political, economic, scientific and cultural cooperation. The partnership between Tehran and Moscow has had a positive impact in terms of stability and security. For Putin, Iran is “stable and reliable partner". In Iran, the presidential election looms.

Moscow (AsiaNews) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani yesterday ended a two-day official visit to Moscow in which a range of bilateral and regional issues were discussed like economic cooperation, new energy projects, closer co-operation in regional conflicts like Syria. However, their views on Turkey vary.

During his first visit to the Russian capital, the Iranian president met his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, as well as Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev.

During the visit, Iranian and Russian officials signed 14 documents on political, economic, scientific, legal and cultural co-operation.

The two sides also signed other agreements in the fields of information and communications technology, mining, railroad construction, extradition of criminals, nuclear energy, electricity, exports and tourism.

Rouhani first met with Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev. Afterwards, Rouhani said, “There is no doubt that co-operation between [our] two countries positively impacts stability and security in the region and in the world.”

Yesterday, the Iranian president received an honorary degree from Moscow State University and addressed professors and students at a ceremony.

"Resolving the issues of today's world requires co-operation among scientists and governments," Rouhani said. At the same time, “The decline of the West's dominance and the end of the monopoly on wealth is a historic opportunity to build a new world.”

During their meeting, Rouhani and Putin also held “important” and “intensive” talks on regional and global issues as well as bilateral relations.

Russia is set to build nine of Iran's 20 proposed nuclear reactors and has emerged as a long-term arms partner, providing Tehran with its S-300 air defense missile system.

Referring to the 515 years of diplomatic ties between Tehran and Moscow, Putin said, “Iran is a good neighbour and a stable and reliable partner.”

After the meeting, the Russian leader said that trade between the countries had "grown more than 70 percent" last year. "This is truly a good result considering that it was achieved in unstable global conditions and amid persistent volatility on the commodity and currency markets." 

The two leaders also discussed their alliance in the Syrian conflict and their separate support for President Bashar al Assad, looking at a road map for the future of the Arab country in the interests of peace and stability.

The two remain apart however over Turkey, which is for Russia an indispensable partner to end the hostilities. Tehran differs with Moscow over Ankara’s support for Syria’s armed opposition and extremist Islamist groups.

For experts, Russia’s role as a mediator between the two sides will be crucial.  This could lead to better co-ordination between the three countries – and their proxies in Syria – and strengthen the existing truce as well as lead eventually to a solution of the Syrian crisis.

For Rouhani, the visit is important ahead of his country’s presidential elections in May, in which he is expected to stand for a second term. His re-election is far from certain given the opposition by Iran’s hard-liners who would like to see him defeated.

In this context, the Russian partnership, especially in business and trade, could be crucial in helping him win a second term.

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