The Russian and Iranian stances on the majority of principled international issues are close or coincide. This was stressed Thursday at a meeting between Russian vice-premier Ilya Klebanov and new ambassador of Iran to Russia Qolam Reza Shafei. The meeting was held due to the start of the ambassador's diplomatic mission in Russia. The sides discussed, in particular, issues of implementing bilateral agreements reached during President Sayed Mohammad Khatami's visit to Moscow last March. Issues of trade and economic exchange, cooperation in the spheres of aviation, space and car manufacturing were also touched upon. In 2000, the Russian-Iranian commodity turnover overcame recession and exceeded USD 600 million, while in 1999, the figure was USD 485 million. The commodity turnover upward trend is continuing in 2001 as well, and Russia is Iran's third largest partner, in terms of import volumes, following Germany and the United Arab Emirates.
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Accession of the Kharkiv region to the Russian Federation will be the next phase of the special military operation. It is the Kharkiv region, from where the armed Forces of Ukraine have been shelling Russia's Belgorod