MOSCOW, June 16 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Hassan Rouhani with his election as Iran’s new president and confirmed Russia’s readiness to develop bilateral cooperation, the Kremlin press office reported on Sunday.
Moderate cleric Rouhani gained more than 50 percent of the votes in the country’s presidential elections held on Friday.
Rouhani, 64, a former lead Iranian negotiator on nuclear issues, will replace the outgoing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad whose presidency has seen sharp deterioration in ties with Europe and the United States and the imposition of economic sanctions provoked by international opposition to Tehran's nuclear program.
In his congratulatory telegram, Putin said he was confident Rouhani’s work as Iran’s president “will contribute to the prosperity of friendly Iran and further strengthening of Russian-Iranian relations,” the Kremlin press office said.
“The Russian president also confirmed readiness for consistent development of mutually advantageous cooperation with Iran in very diverse fields in the interests of ensuring regional security and international stability,” the Kremlin press office said.
Russian senator Mikhail Margelov who heads the international committee in the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament, said Rouhani’s election as the Iranian president would make the West look for the peaceful methods of resolving the Iran nuclear problem.
Rouhani is a “moderate liberal by Iranian standards” and the presence of the liberal president in the [Iranian] leadership will force the West to look for the ways of peacefully resolving the [nuclear] problem, without any hints at possible bombardments of [Iranian] nuclear facilities,” Margelov told RIA Novosti.
Western countries suspect Iran of using its nuclear program to develop atomic weapons capability, a claim Iran has consistently denied. Tehran claims it needs atomic technology for producing electricity, although it has some of the world's largest reserves of oil and gas.