KIEV, Ukraine, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Iranian relations with Ukraine are entering a new phase after both countries embraced new administrations, the Iranian envoy to Kiev said.
Akbar Qasemi Ali Abadi told the National News Agency of Ukraine that several countries had a negative view of Iran's diplomatic relations with Ukraine. He said this phase was over, however, as new leaders embraced bilateral affairs.
"Fortunately, this phase is over and we begin a new stage amid the presidency of our presidents Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Viktor Yanukovych," he said. "We hope that we will be able to make great strides to ensure common interests."
The envoy said it was unfortunate that both countries so far only had small- to medium-sized business deals to share. He said that compared with Iran's ties to other countries in the region, like Russia and Azerbaijan, ties to Ukraine were lower than he wanted.
"Substantial efforts are needed here," he said.
He noted that Iran was keen to expand its energy ties with Ukraine, which is looking to ease at least some of its dependency on Russian natural gas.