Iran tells Putin cooperation makes US-sanctioned countries ‘stronger’

TEHRAN (AFP): Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi on Thursday told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that the cooperation among countries sanctioned by the United States will make them “stronger”.

“The relationship between countries that are sanctioned by the US, such as Iran, Russia or other countries, can overcome many problems and issues and make them stronger,” Raisi said in a meeting with Putin in Uzbekistan.

“The Americans think whichever country they impose sanctions on, it will be stopped, their perception is a wrong one.”

Raisi said his country is “seriously determined to develop bilateral strategic relations” with Russia in the fields of politics, economy, trade, and aerospace.

It was the second meeting between Raisi and Putin in two months, after the Russian President’s visit to Tehran on July 19.

Putin also hailed growing ties with the Islamic republic, saying “on the bilateral level, cooperation is developing positively”

He added that work on a major new Russia-Iran treaty on strategic ties was nearly completed and that Moscow would be sending a Russian business delegation to Iran next week to develop commercial ties.

“We are doing everything to make Iran a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation,” Putin added, in reference to Tehran’s application for full membership in the group, which brings together China, Russia, India, Pakistan and four ex-Soviet Central Asian countries.

For his part, the Iranian president said his country’s membership in the SCO and its relationship with member states “can greatly help on the path of economic development for Iran and the development of the region.”

Iran, one of four SCO observer states, applied for full membership in 2008 but its bid was slowed by UN and US sanctions imposed over its nuclear programme.

Several SCO members did not want a country under international sanctions in their ranks — a situation that now applies to Russia as well.

At a conference in Dushanbe in September last year, members of the bloc endorsed Iran’s future membership.

On the sidelines of the SCO summit in Samarkand on Wednesday, Iran signed documents pertaining to its full membership in the organisation due to take place in the future, the country’s foreign minister said in a twitter post.