Erdoğan arrives in Iran on second official visit
HDN | 10/27/2009 12:00:00 AM |
Prime Minister Recep Tayyıp Erdoğan was welcomed in Tehran on Tuesday morning by Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has begun his official trip to Iran on Tuesday with an aim of boosting bilateral relations between the two neighboring countries. The prime minister was welcomed by Iranian First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi with a formal ceremony at the Iranian Presidency Palace in Tehran.
On his second official visit to Iran in four years, Erdoğan also met with Iran’s hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the presidential palace behind closed doors. He is also scheduled to visit the Iranian Chamber of Commerce and speak at a Forum on Turkish-Iranian relations.
Erdoğan’s visit comes as Western powers await Iran's decision on a plan for it to send some of its low-enriched uranium abroad for conversion into nuclear fuel just after U.N. inspectors completed checks on a recently-revealed enrichment plant near the holy city of Qom.
Turkey, a NATO member, has in recent years improved links with Iran, its eastern neighbours, and has sought to help resolve the nuclear dispute between its Western allies and Tehran.
Erdoğan accused Western powers of treating Iran unfairly over its nuclear program, in an interview published on Monday in which he referred to the Iranian president as a "friend." Speaking to The Guardian newspaper, he downplayed Western concerns that Iran wants to build nuclear weapons as "gossip," and implied that the accusers were guilty of hypocrisy.
Iranian-Turkish trade stands at around $12 billion a year and the two nations are seeking to expand it to $20 billion in the next two years, according to Iran’s official IRNA news agency.