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Iran, Turkey Seek To Boost Economic Ties


President Mahmud Ahmadinejad (left) greets his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul in Tehran.
President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said today that Iran wants to triple its trade with Turkey and remove all trade barriers between the two countries.

He was speaking at a joint press conference in Tehran with his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul.

Ahmadinejad said Iran was "grateful to Turkey for its favorable stance toward Iran's nuclear rights" and wanted Turkey -- which hosted the latest round of talks -- to serve as a mediator on international talks on Iran's nuclear program.

Gul said the parties had decided to remove "all obstacles" identified in the talks as hindering bilateral cooperation.

The Turkish president called on Middle Eastern governments to listen to the demands of their people, although he did not refer to any country specifically. "We see that sometimes when the leaders and heads of countries do not pay attention to the nation's demands, the nation itself will push and take action," he said.

Gul's visit to Tehran coincides with sporadic opposition protests meant to show solidarity with recent popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. Iran's government has refused to sanction the protests.

The Turkish leader was also due to meet Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on his three-day visit.

compiled from agency reports