Iran seeks to boost regional ties with Russia: Leader’s aide

A senior Iranian official says Tehran seeks to strengthen relations with Russia as the two countries share a common stance on the Syrian crisis.

“Tehran and Moscow have common stance and viewpoints on the Syrian issue and regional issues are on the agenda of my talks with Russian officials,” Ali Akbar Velayati, the adviser on international affairs to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, told reporters in Moscow on Monday.

He added that Tehran and Moscow support the settlement of the Syrian crisis through political approaches.

Velayati said the two countries have always enjoyed “unique and strategic” relations and expanded mutual ties in different fields, particularly in nuclear and defense, as well as regional cooperation including a coalition among Iran, Syria, Russia and Iraq to fight terrorism.

The top Iranian official said during his stay in the Russian capital, he will also attend a seminar on bilateral cooperation in the modern geopolitical situation.

Velayati arrived in Moscow on Monday morning to hold talks with senior Russian officials on ways to strengthen relations. The visit comes at the invitation of Director of the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies Leonid Petrovich Reshetnikov.

He paid a visit to Moscow in January 2015 as a special envoy for Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, during which he submitted the Iranian president’s message to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

During Velayati’s meeting with President Putin, the two sides agreed on efforts to promote Iran’s status at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Iran, which has an observer status at the SCO, eyes membership in the organization.

They also discussed bilateral relations in political and economic fields.

Iran and Russia have similar stances on the crisis in Syria. Moscow and Tehran reject any foreign interference in the internal affairs of Syria, saying only Syrians are entitled to decide their fate.