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Putin, Rouhani start talks in Ankara

The meeting between the presidents is held behind closed doors

ANKARA, September 16. /TASS/. Russian and Iranian presidents Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani have begun talks at the Cankaya presidential mansion in Ankara, where a trilateral summit on Syria between the Russian, Iranian and Turkish leaders kicks off on Monday.

"Firstly, I would like to note that the relations between Russia and Iran are developing successfully. This includes political cooperation, active cooperation on the international scene and within the framework of the UN and other organizations, including the SCO," Putin said in the beginning of the meeting.

He also noted "practically finalized procedures within the EAEU on creating a free trade zone with Iran." Putin reminded that bilateral trade relations between the states are developing actively, with the growth reaching 17% in the first six months of the current year.

"And, of course, due to our collective efforts, in particular Iran’s efforts and contribution to Syrian regulation processes, achieving a lot on the issue of eliminating hotbeds of terrorist opposition and creating an effective and working mechanism of political regulation. I would like to note Iran’s role in forming the Constitutional Committee. I hope that we have arrived at the final phase of these efforts," Putin said.

He also noted the shared position of both states on maintaining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

For his part, Rouhani noted that Russian-Iranian relations "are moving towards development."

"The spectrum of relations between Russia and Iran does not only cover the economy, it is also related to cooperation in the defense and nuclear spheres," Rouhani said.

The Iranian president added that he is glad of the opportunities created regularly during the talks between both leaders, namely, on the sidelines of the SCO, the Astana talks, the trilateral talks between Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan.

"I think that in the current important historic moment, our work with Russia, one of the key members of the UN, in the present conditions, when the Americans are showing signs of hegemony, for example, in the sphere of seafaring in the region, undermining international norms - our contacts and our work are very important," Rouhani stated.

"In the current conditions, when the Americans are attempting to destroy this deal (the JCPOA - TASS), Russia can play an important role in this format," Rouhani stressed.

Commenting on Syrian cooperation, the Iranian leader stressed that "significant victories" have been reached in this sphere.

"However, we state that problems remain, and the Russia-Iran-Turkey format plays a big role," he said.

Later on Monday, a trilateral summit on Syrian regulation between Russian, Iranian and Turkish leaders will take place in Ankara.