Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday Iran was a “good” neighbor and “reliable” partner.

“We established diplomatic relations over 500 years ago. Iran is a good neighbor, and a reliable and stable partner for Russia,” Putin said during a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani in Moscow.

Putin said Moscow and Tehran had been cooperating in many areas, including economy, according to a statement by the Kremlin.

“Suffice it to say that last year our trade grew 70 percent, which is a unique achievement amid the current economic difficulties,” he added.

Rouhani said the relations between the two countries had developed “positively” over the past three and a half years.

“Our relations have entered a new stage,” he said and expressed his hope that the visit would promote bilateral cooperation.

Rouhani added their “ultimate” goal was to strengthen peace and stability in the region.

The Iranian president arrived in Moscow on Monday for a two-day official visit, during which he also met Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

A number of bilateral agreements are expected to be signed during his visit to the Russian capital at Putin’s invitation.

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