Rouhani thanks Putin for Russia's efforts in nuclear talks

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani hailed his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for Moscow's efforts in nuclear negotiations in Vienna.

"I consider it my duty to thank Russia for the efforts it has made in resolving and negotiating the Iranian nuclear programme, and for the personal efforts made by Mr. (Foreign Minister Sergey) Lavrov," Rouhani said in his meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Ufa, south-western Russia, on Thursday.

"Iran is our traditional and reliable partner," Putin said.

The Kremlin chief explained that the relations between the two countries have been developing despite the obstacles of the global economy and the known restrictions, referring to the international sanctions imposed on Tehran.

"Overall, we may be pleased with the way our relations are developing. But there are always issues which require special attention on our part, and I am glad that we have an opportunity to talk about this today," Putin said.

Rouhani, in turn, said that Russian-Iranian relations can be strengthened in all areas with political will.

The meeting between the two leaders coincides with the final extension of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (Russia, the US, Britain, France, China, plus Germany) on the Iranian nuclear programme.

Moscow and Tehran are currently finalising the contract for the delivery of Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, which is strictly opposed by Israel and the US.

The S-300 missiles, similar to the US Patriot, will allow Iran to deter any possible invasion or massive air attack with Stealth fighters, helicopters, bombers and ballistic missiles, according to experts.

Israel fears that such weapons, which have a range up to 200 kilometres (125 miles), will enable Iran to soon have an invulnerable missile shield to defend vital infrastructure against a possible foreign attack.

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