Russia Hails Age-Old Iran Relationship

Russia Hails Age-Old Iran Relationship

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called Iran a "kind neighbor and old partner", praising long-lasting bilateral relations that are based on "equality of rights, mutual respect and trust".
The top Russian diplomat wrote the statement in a message to a conference on the 515-year history of Tehran-Moscow relations, which was held at the Foreign Ministry's Institute for Political and International Studies in Tehran on Monday, Fars News Agency reported.  
"We gladly acknowledge the ongoing development of bilateral cooperation in all fields, including foreign policy, defense, economy and culture," he said.
"According to arrangements made between our heads of state, we intend to jointly continue efforts to improve cooperation and find effective solutions to acute problems plaguing the region and the world, including the fight against international terrorism and extremism, and political settlement of the Syria conflict." 
In a separate message to the conference, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the history of Tehran-Moscow relations and its ups and downs show that the two neighbors should work to strengthen their bonds of friendship to the extent possible.
"Expansion of this relationship will not only benefit the two states, but would also contribute substantially to security, stability and development of such regions as Central Asia and the Middle East," he said.
The Iranian people have an unhappy memory of Russia, which originates from the Treaty of Turkmenchay that concluded the Russo-Persian War (1826–28), under which Iran ceded to Russia control of several areas, including modern-day Armenia, and parts of Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan.
Iran and the Soviet Union were on unfriendly terms under the ousted Pahlavi regime that was a regional ally of Americans.
After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, one of whose main slogans was "Neither East, Nor West - Islamic Republic", Tehran and Moscow maintained difficult relations. But the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 transformed Tehran-Moscow ties and the two started warming to each other. 
The tightening of western sanctions against Iran in 2012 and Russia-US tensions over Ukraine conflict in 2014 led to the improvement of bilateral relations to unprecedented levels.  
The two countries are now closely cooperating in Syria where Moscow has lent its airpower to Syrian Army in the fight against militants struggling to bring down the government and Tehran provides advisory services to the Syrian troops in their anti-terror drive. 

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