ASTRAKHAN, September 28. /ITAR-TASS/. President of Iran Hassan Rouhani arrived in the Russian southern city of Astrakhan on Sunday to take part in the 4th summit of heads of state of the Caspian littoral states. It is his first visit to Russia.
At the instruction of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Rouhani was welcomed by governor of the Astrakhan region Alexander Zhilkin, the press service of the Astrakhan region governor told ITAR-TASS.
The Iranian president noted that he valued much his country’s relations with Russia. “We are glad that our countries have good relations. Russia is a good neighbor for us, and Astrakhan is a key region for the development of our relations,” Rouhani said, noting that Astrakhan had prepared good grounds for the presidents of the Caspian countries to work at their summit.
Alexander Zhilkin, in turn, noted he had visited Iranian provinces more than once. “Iran is a very interesting, promising and hospitable country,” he said.
“For Astrakhan region, Iran is a strategic partner, our cooperation is developing in various areas, both economic and humanitarian. We maintain close business contacts with the Iranian consulate in Astrakhan,” he said.
According to the press service of the Astrakhan regional administration, first contacts between the region and Iranian provinces were established in the 1990s. Most close contacts were established with Iran’s northern provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran and Golestan located along the Caspian Sea coast. In 2013, trade turnover reached 250 million U.S. dollars. More than 160 enterprises with Iranian capital and an office of an Iranian bank are active in the Astrakhan region. The region has close humanitarian relations with Iran too.
On Monday, Astrakhan will host the 4th summit of heads of state of Caspian littoral states. Taking part in it will be the leaders of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkemnista.