Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived Monday in Belarus and held talks with President Alexander Lukashenko, the authoritarian leader who is considered a pariah in the West and who has courted other vehement opponents of the United States.
Ahmadinejad was greeted by an honor guard at Lukashenko's administration building. Lukashenko told him at the start of talks that "relations between Belarus and Iran have reached the level of strategic partnership," according to Lukashenko's press service.
Ahmadinejad said he considered Lukashenko one of his best friends, according to the press service.
During a two-day visit, Ahmadinejad was also expected to tour Belarusian enterprises. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry said last week that the main issues to be discussed during the visit concerned energy, trade and science.