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Russia says welcomes Ahmadinejad as Iran president

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad looks on during his first news conference after the presidential elections in Tehran June 14, 2009. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

YEKATERINBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Russia welcomed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Russia on Tuesday and said the disputed election was a domestic matter.

“The Iranian elections are the internal affair of Iran,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg.

“We welcome the fact that elections took place, we welcome the new president on Russian soil and see it as symbolic that he made his first visit to Russia. This allows hope for progress in bilateral relations,” Ryabkov said.