Iran congratulates Putin, hopes for better ties

AFP , Monday 5 Mar 2012

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad congratulates Russia's Vladimir Putin on election victory

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday congratulated Russia's Vladimir Putin on his presidential election victory, saying Tehran seeks better ties with Moscow, the government website reported.

"I congratulate him, as well as the friendly government and nation of (Russia), for being elected president of the Russian Federation," Ahmadinejad said in a message sent to Putin's office, the website reported.

Ahmadinejad called for the further "development of good relations" between Iran and Russia, it said.

Putin secured more than 63 per cent of the vote in Sunday's election, winning back the Russian presidency which he held for two terms from 2000 to 2008, although some of his rivals and several vote monitoring groups cried foul.

During his election campaign, Putin issued a stark warning against military strikes on Iran over its controversial nuclear programme, which Tehran says is purely civilian.

Russia has longstanding commercial and military ties with Iran and has condemned sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union over Western allegations Tehran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

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