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June 18 2013 - 08:06

Putin and Obama Optimistic About Iran Nuclear Talks

The Russian and U.S. presidents share "cautious optimism" about the future of talks on the Iranian nuclear program under Iran's newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani.

Rouhani, 64, a former negotiator on nuclear issues, gained more than 50 percent of the votes in the country's June 14 presidential election. On Sunday, during his first press conference since being declared winner, he said that Iran is prepared to "see tensions alleviated."

"We hope that new opportunities for solving the Iranian nuclear problem will emerge after the Iranian elections," President Vladimir Putin told journalists after talks with U.S. leader Barack Obama.

He said that Moscow was ready to contribute to the negotiation process both on a bilateral level and as part of international efforts.

Obama, in his turn, said he and Putin shared "cautious optimism" on the issue and expressed hope that under the new president of Iran, all the parties concerned would have an opportunity to "move forward with dialogue."

The U.S. president also said that two "nuclear superpowers" — Russia and the U.S. — should lead the global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament efforts.

Putin said he also discussed with Obama another controversial nuclear program, ran by North Korea.

"We also talked about the North Korean problem. We agreed to boost our cooperation in all these directions," the Russian president said.

The two leaders also discussed bilateral relations, counter-terrorism efforts and international issues, such as Syria, during the talks which they described as frank and useful.

Putin and Obama met on the sidelines of the G8 summit in Northern Ireland. The meeting lasted almost two hours, some 50 minutes longer than it was initially planned.

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