Iranian leader receives S. Korean counterpart in Tehran

By Mustafa Melih Ahishali

TEHRAN (AA) – President Hassan Rouhani received South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye — currently on a state visit to Iran — at Tehran’s Saad Abad Palace on Monday.

Both leaders spoke at a joint press conference after holding a meeting in which they discussed proposals for boosting trade and business relations and a proposed “strategic partnership” between the two countries.

“We have decided to increase bilateral trade volumes to $18 billion a year from a previous $6 billion,” said Rouhani, noting that the two men had signed a number of trade and business agreements.

He went on to say that the most significant result of Park’s visit was the establishment of a “high-level strategic partnership” between Iran and South Korea.

The two leaders reportedly signed 19 memorandums of understanding aimed at boosting relations in the fields of commerce, energy, transport and culture.

“The security of the Korean Peninsula and the Middle East is crucial,” Rouhani said at the press conference. “We would like to maintain peace and stability in the region and strongly oppose all weapons of mass destruction,” he added.

Park, for her part, declared that 2017 would be “the year of Iran-Korea cultural relations”.

“We have agreed to establish exchange programs through our universities,” she added, describing her visit to the Islamic republic as one of “historical significance”.

*AA correspondent Ahmet Sait Akcay contributed to this report from Ankara.