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Economy to be focus of Gul's Iran visit

Economy to be focus of Gul's Iran visit

President Abdullah Gul will travel to Iran this weekend for a three-day visit, expected to focus on economic cooperation, a government official said yesterday. Gul will meet with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran on Monday, the official said on condition of anonymity. Gul will be accompanied by several government ministers, including Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, as well as lawmakers, businessmen and academics, said the source, adding that the president is expected to also visit the cities of Tabriz and Isfahan. Turkey's ties with its eastern neighbor have markedly improved since the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) came to power in 2002, with Ankara pushing in recent years for a diplomatic resolution to the row over Tehran's nuclear program. In June, Turkey irked the US when it voted against fresh UN sanctions on Iran, arguing that a nuclear fuel swap deal it had negotiated with Brazil the previous month should be given a chance. Iran is also one of Turkey's main suppliers of natural gas.

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