TEHRAN, Aug. 16 (Mehr News Agency) -- Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has said that Iran welcomes Russia's move to establish closer bilateral ties, stating that it marks the dawn of a new era in relations between the two countries.
Salehi made the remarks during a meeting with Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev in Tehran on Tuesday in reference to Russia's proposal for a "step-by-step" plan toward Iran's nuclear program.
On July 13, Russia made a proposal for a step-by-step approach, according to which Iran could address questions about its nuclear program and be rewarded with a gradual easing of sanctions.
During the meeting, Salehi expressed hope that the commitments that the plan would require would be set out in such a way that both sides could implement them.
He added, "We believe that a powerful Russia and an independent Iran will be able to create a hub of power, security, and stability in the region."
Patrushev, according to a translation of his remarks, said, "Today Russia is a stable and independent country and sees no obstacle in the way of the expansion of ties with Iran."
"There are various areas for cooperation between the two countries," he stated, adding that Tehran and Moscow will benefit from stable relations.
Iran welcomes Russia's proposals for cooperation
The secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, also held separate meetings with Patrushev on Monday and Tuesday.
After the second round of the talks, Jalili told reporters, "We welcome the Russians' proposals for holding negotiations with the aim of cooperation," adding that the two countries can have good cooperation in regard to nuclear energy and nuclear disarmament.
He also said that Iran and Russia have similar views on many regional and international issues, which has paved the way for the enhancement of bilateral cooperation.
Jalili added that the Bushehr nuclear power plant is a symbol of "peaceful cooperation" between Tehran and Moscow.
Patrushev described the talks as fruitful, saying the two countries can increase their cooperation in various spheres.
Patrushev also said that he and Iranian officials explored ways to enhance cooperation in the nuclear sphere.
The issue of the Caspian Sea legal regime was also addressed during the meetings, he added.
Iran will study 'step-by-step' proposal once it receives details
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters on Tuesday that Iran will study Russia's proposal when it is given the full details of the initiative.
"We have not received the plan officially and completely," Mehmanparast stated.
Asked if Moscow could still be trusted given the fact that Russia broke the contract for delivery of the S-300 missile system to Iran, he said, "We will mull over the proposal once we receive it."
On the concurrence of Patrushev's visit to Tehran and Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi's trip to Moscow on Tuesday, Mehmanparast said that holding regular consultations is part and parcel of the important relations between Iran and Russia.
And the interactions between delegations are in line with efforts to maintain good relations between the two countries and to address issues beyond bilateral matters, he added.
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