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    Iran opened a consulate in the Georgian port city of Batumi on Thursday in a further strengthening of ties with one of the region's staunchest U.S. allies.

    Iran opened a consulate in the Georgian port city of Batumi on Thursday in a further strengthening of ties with one of the region's staunchest U.S. allies.

    Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki attended the opening ceremony in the autonomous republic of Ajaria as part of a two-day visit to Georgia.

    "Our great history connects us. Our economic interests are also the same. Georgia is of great importance as a transit country, which links the Persian Gulf to Europe," Mottaki said, adding that Batumi, on Georgia's Black Sea coast, was a popular tourist spot for Iranians.

    On Wednesday, Mottaki signed an agreement on introducing a visa-free travel regime between Georgia and Iran.

    Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Nalbandov said the new consulate would chiefly increase tourism in the region, but noted that Iran was interested in developing economic ties with Georgia.

    TBILISI, November 4 (RIA Novosti) 

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