SERGEI LAVROV ARRIVES IN IRAN ON A ROUTINE VISIT

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MOSCOW, TEHRAN, October 10 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is arriving on a two-day working trip to the Islamic Republic of Iran on Sunday.

RIA Novosti was told in the Russian Foreign Ministry Information and Press Department that during the talks in Tehran, terms of Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to that country would be discussed. "We do not know the exact time of Putin's coming visit to Iran, though we have a clear agreement that this visit will take place in the near future," said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alexeyev.

It is also supposed to exchange opinions on a wide spectrum of bilateral cooperation issues, international and regional problems, to discuss nuclear non-proliferation and Iran's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Russian Foreign Ministry notes that Moscow attaches great importance to deepening partnership with Iran, regarding it as a weighty factor of stability and security in the neighboring regions.

The visit will focus on international security issues with the stress laid on further development of Russian-Iranian interaction in the fight against terrorism, illegal drug turnover, crime. Moscow and Tehran, speaking for unification of international anti-terrorist efforts, proceed from the necessity of honest cooperation in the fight against this global evil without double standards. Russia does not rule out a possibility to conclude with Iran a new document on the fight against terrorism, said Mr. Alexeyev.

Another important topic of the talks will be the Iranian nuclear program in the context of Iran's cooperation with the IAEA. Mr. Alexeyev said Russia would continue cooperation with Iran in the field of peaceful nuclear energy regardless of whether outside pressure is exerted on it or not. This cooperation, in his words, will continue in the framework of the existing international obligations.

"Our position is widely known both to our partners and colleagues in the IAEA, as well as to our Iranian colleagues," said Mr. Alexeyev, noting that this position is in line with the IAEA rules, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the commitments Russia undertook on other agreements.

Special attention at the talks will be paid to issues of boosting trade and economic cooperation of the two countries. The sides assess potentialities in this field as very wide. Their effective use, which will make it possible to achieve substantial increase of last year's trade turnover, which was $1.37 billion is a priority task for the near future.

The main directions of bilateral trade and economic cooperation are energy, including nuclear, metallurgy, oil and gas and chemical industry, transportation.

The only cooperation project in the nuclear power sphere now is construction of the first unit of the Bushehr nuclear power plant with a 1,000 MW capacity.

Russian-Iranian cooperation in the oil and gas sphere is growing. The gas deposit South Pars, which was developed with Gazprom assistance, has already given its first production. Prospects of Russia's participation in the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline construction are being discussed. Talks on participation in the promising projects of the oil and gas branch are conducted by Russian oil companies Lukoil, Rosneft, Tatneft, Slavneft, Stroitransgaz.

Talks on Iran purchasing several Tu-204 planes, as well as on a telecommunications satellite created and launched for Iran are being conducted.

The transportation ministries of Russia, Iran, and India are fulfilling the project of creating a transport corridor North-South to organize the transit of goods from Europe to Gulf and Indian ocean countries.

Considerable attention will be paid to issues of further development of bilateral and multilateral, within the Caspian five, cooperation on the Caspian.

Russia and Iran actively interact in settling regional problems, that's why prospects and forms of further bilateral coordination on this key direction will be considered in detail.

The two sides support multilateral efforts on the post-conflict restoration of Afghanistan, Iraq, creation of a climate of confidence and cooperation in the Middle East and in Asia. They proceed from the fact that the central coordinating role should belong to the UN.

RIA Novosti's Nikolai Terekhov reports from Tehran that the Russian foreign minister will meet with his Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharrazi, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Hasan Rowhani and chairman of Iranian parliament Hoddad Adel.

Shortly before the visit, official spokesman for Iran's government Abdollah Ramazanzade told RIA Novosti that the high level of Russia-Iran relations is preserved.

"There are no problems in Russian-Iranian ties, and we hope for further strengthening of bilateral relations," said the Iranian government spokesman.

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