TEHRAN, Sept. 6 (Mehr News Agency) - President Mahmud Ahmadinejad on Saturday expressed Iran's interest to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
"The Islamic Republic is determined to boost cooperation with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and believes this would benefit all regional states," Ahmadinejad told Chinese President Hu Jintao.
The Chinese leader welcomed Iran's interest to join the SCO, saying an expert committee will be formed to consider the proposal.
Ahmadinejad is in Beijing to attend the opening ceremony of Paralympics. He plans to visit training camps for Iranian athletes and hold a meeting with Iranian nationals in China.
Ahmadinejad said Iran and China have "strong and strategic" relations and expressed satisfaction over the growing trade between the two countries which is expected to reach a record high of $30 billion this year.
The two sides also agreed to hold Iran-China joint cooperation commission in the near future.
Ahmadinejad said the two countries' common stance on many international issues provides the ground for closer mutual cooperation.
"We are willing to expand our relations with China as much as possible and utilize the two countries' potential to influence global developments."
He expressed appreciation for China's support for Iran's nuclear activities. "Iran's nuclear activities are peaceful and the U.S. response to this issue is absolutely political."
Ahmadinejas said Iran believes the nuclear dispute should be resolved through negotiations.
The Chinese president said, "Iran and China are two developing countries with common concerns...We have similar viewpoints about regional issues such as campaign against terrorism and drug trafficking."
Hu expressed hope that the two will further boost cooperation in energy sector.
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