Putin, Rouhani to meet in Kyrgyzstan next month

Russian aide says Iranian president requested the sit-down; leaders expected to discuss policy, cooperation

Russian President Vladimir Putin (photo credit: AP/RIA Novosti/Alexei Druzhinin/Government Press Service/File)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (photo credit: AP/RIA Novosti/Alexei Druzhinin/Government Press Service/File)

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with newly elected Iranian President Hasan Rouhani next month in Kyrgyzstan, a top aide to the Russian president announced Friday.

Foreign policy adviser Yury Ushakov said the two leaders will convene on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit set to take place on September 13 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital and largest city.

Ushakov said the meeting was arranged at Rouhani’s request.

The leaders will discuss bilateral ties and other policy issues, including Iran’s nuclear program at the upcoming meeting, media reports suggested.

“We were grateful to the Iranian side for such initiative and naturally supported it and gave our consent,” Putin’s aide said. “We are now preparing for the meeting.”

Iran holds an observer status in the SCO, a security organization headed by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Putin and Rouhani have previously met to discuss Iran’s nuclear policies when Rouihan served as the chief negotiator for Iran’s nuclear program.

Earlier this week, Russian parliament speaker Sergei Naryshkin attended Rouhani’s inauguration in Tehran. Naryshkin said Russia and Iran may expand collaboration in civilian nuclear-power engineering after Iran’s first nuclear power plant comes into full operation, Russian news site RiaNovosti reported.

Earlier in July, Putin and Iran’s former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met in Moscow during a trip aimed at strengthening Russian and Iranian ties.

Iran’s new president regularly criticized his predecessor Ahmadinejad during his presidential campaign, and his victory was viewed by some as a moderate turn for Iran. Israeli officials, however, contend that Rouhani will have little actual policy-making power since the real body of authority in Iran is the clerical regime headed by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Israel and the United States have pushed for an international effort to halt Iran’s nuclear research program amid fears that the Islamic Republic is racing to develop an atomic bomb. Tehran claims that its facilities are only for peaceful purposes but has failed to cooperate with international inspectors at its nuclear facilities. Iran has also been subjected to increasingly severe sanctions on its oil exports and international financial operations.

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