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Turkmen Leader Meets With Iranian Defense Minister in Ashgabat

The president of Turkmenistan has met with the defense chief of Iran, the officially neutral Central Asian nation's southern neighbor.

President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov met General Hossein Dehqan on September 16 during the Iranian defense minister's visit to Ashgabat.

They discussed cooperation in defense and other areas, but details were not announced.

Media reports in Iran and Turkmenistan say they stressed the importance of talks between Berdymukhammedov and Iranian President Hassan Rohani on the sidelines of a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Tajikistan last week.

Berdymukhammedov has taken steps to decrease the isolation of Turkmenistan, the only former Soviet republic in Central Asia that is not a member of the SCO, a regional security grouping dominated by Russia and China.

Iran has observer status in the SCO.

With reporting by and