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Iran's President Rohani seeks to improve relations and trade during landmark visit to Turkey


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Iran's President Rohani seeks to improve relations and trade during landmark visit to Turkey

President Hassan Rohani has been welcomed by Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan making him the first Iranian leader to visit Turkey for 18 years.

He is in the country for trade talks but also to improve bilateral ties which have become strained over the Syria conflict.

Tehran is an ally of Syria’s president while Ankara is backing the rebels.

During his welcome speech Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he thought relations were likely to improve if both sides were sincere:

“Iran has the will to overcome differences and it it important that this is reciprocated I believe that 2014 and 2015 will be very different if together we push forward with this process.”

The neighbours are also seeking to solidify trade deals which might skirt round UN restrictions over Iran’s nuclear programme.

President Hassan Rohani stressed that both countries have the same aims:

“We want the Middle East to be free not just of nuclear weapons but of all weapons of mass destruction. Our aim should be that all nations be given the right to use nuclear technology but for peaceful purposes.”

Rohani’s visit comes as Iranian, US and EU officials hold talks in Geneva about Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme.

Last time no final deal was reached after each side accused the other of having unrealistic demands.

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