MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Moscow on Monday for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his latest foreign trip before the May presidential election.
The Tuesday summit saw the leaders discuss projects in areas such as energy, infrastructure and technology and the signing of several cooperation memorandums, as well as a deal on visa-free group travel.
SYRIA & END OF TERRORISM
Speaking at a joint press briefing, Rouhani linked lasting peace and stability in the Middle East to the eventual defeat of terrorism and vowed to build on the "good experience" that Iran shared with Russia in this regard.
"We discussed cooperation and interaction which we are leading in the fight against terrorism. We shall continue this struggle until the end of all terrorist activities in the region," he told reporters.
Rouhani commented on the deteriorating security in Central Asia’s Afghanistan, which faced "terrorist threats from extremist forces." He said Iran and Russia had agreed to continue strengthening a democratic Afghanistan to help it on the way toward becoming free and prosperous.
Putin praised cooperation between the two allies that was instrumental to reaching a cessation of hostilities pact for Syria, also mediated by Turkey, while his Iranian counterpart said peace talks in Kazakhstan’s Astana would continue until all people in Syria have their rights fulfilled.
"Our ultimate goal is to strengthen peace and stability in the region. The development of our relations is not directed against third countries," Rouhani emphasized.
ENERGY & COOPERATION
On energy, the presidents said their nations were remained adamant about the need to preserve last year’s pact between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC oil producers that sought to curb oil production to shore up falling prices and stabilize the global market.
"Russia and Iran will continue to cooperate in this area in order to stabilize the global energy market and ensure sustainable economic growth," their statement read.
After the summit, Russia's energy giant Gazprom and National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) signed a memorandum on cooperation in the natural gas sector. Memorandums were also signed on electricity trade, transport of nuclear materials and the creation of a joint plant in Iran to assembly Russian Ansat or Ka-226T helicopters.
The two presidents described the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as the cornerstone of non-proliferation of nuclear arms, which they would build on to advance nuclear disarmament goals and promote the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
"Russia and Iran, supporting the idea of turning the Middle East into a region free of nuclear weapons, confirmed that the resolution on the Middle East, adopted in 1995 at the conference on consideration and extension of this treaty will be in force until its aims have been reached," the statement read.
They also called on the United Nations to draft a rule book on how states should behave in the cybersphere after a crippling Stuxnet virus attack on Iranian nuclear assets seven years ago.
Former US Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. James Cartwright pleaded guilty last year to lying during a 2012 federal inquiry into the leak that exposed the computer worm. Washington is suspected of having masterminded the cyberattack on Iran alongside Israel.