Putin vows continuity of Russia-Iran relations under new President

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Moscow, Apr 30 (UNI) Outgoing President Vladimir Putin pledged Russia will continue to maintain its relations with Iran after President-elect Dmitry Medvedev is officially sworn in on May 7.

''Russia confirms its principles in relations with Iran, and that its policy does not depend on who is in power at any moment," Putin said in a message to the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The acting secretary to the Russian Security Council, Valentin Sobolev who is currently on a visit to Tehran told RIA Novosti news agency today he conveyed Putin's message during a meeting with the Iranian leader.

"Ahmadinejad welcomed this, and conveyed his regards to President Vladimir Putin and President-elect Dmitry Medvedev," Sobolev said.

During the talks, Ahmadinejad and Sobolev discussed international and regional issues, bilateral cooperation in peaceful energy use, economic contacts and the Iranian nuclear programme.

The Iranian officials outlined a package of proposals relating to Tehran's initiatives on global problems, including measures to counter nuclear weapons proliferation.

Tehran also intends to submit 'multi-sectoral' proposals, designed to solve international security issues, to six countries mediating the international dispute over Iran's nuclear programme, the agency reported.

United States, Britain, China, France, Russia, and Germany have been involved in negotiations to persuade Iran to freeze uranium enrichment, which Western countries fear is being used by Tehran as a cover for nuclear weapons programme. Iran has so far defied three rounds of United Nations sanctions over its nuclear programme. It insists it needs the nuclear programme for electric power generation.

UNI XC AM BST1816

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