Iranian President stresses expansion of relations with independent states
Iran is committed to develop relations with independent states, including the African state of Benin, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday, IRNA reported.
President Ahmadinejad made the remarks in a meeting with Benin's Foreign Affairs Minister Nasiro Bakoo Arifary in Tehran on Sunday evening.
"Expansion of ties between Iran and Benin is in the interest of both countries; Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi's recent visit to Porto-Novo facilitated the execution of bilateral agreements by the two countries."
Benin's foreign minister for his part welcomed expansion of ties with Iran and voiced hope that the upcoming nuclear talks between Tehran and world powers would have a constructive result.
The last round of the fresh talks between Tehran and the Group 5+1 ended in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday.
During the talks Iran and the world powers agreed to hold experts meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, on March 17-18 and then continue their talks at the level of their top negotiators in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on April 5-6.
Before Almaty talks, Iran and the G5+1 had already held three rounds of negotiations in Geneva, two rounds in Istanbul, one round in Baghdad and one round in Moscow. The last round of talks between Iran and the Group 5+1 was held in Moscow in June.
Washington and its Western allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program, while they have never presented any corroborative evidence to substantiate their allegations. Iran denies the charges and insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
Despite the rules enshrined in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entitling every member state, including Iran, to the right of uranium enrichment, Tehran is now under four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions and the western embargos for turning down West's calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment.