By Rasha Khalaf
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Tehran on Wednesday to attend a trilateral summit with the leaders of Iran and Azerbaijan.
"I would like to thank you for organizing today’s visit," Putin said at a meeting with Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, according to a Kremlin statement.
“We have the opportunity to meet in both bilateral and trilateral settings,” he added.
Rouhani, for his part, said a “new phase” of relations had been reached between Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan.
"Over the last four years, we have stepped up relations between our countries," he asserted.
Wednesday’s gathering in the Islamic republic is the second such trilateral meeting between Moscow, Tehran and Baku.
A first meeting was held in August of last year in the Azerbaijani capital.
"Apart from developing our bilateral ties, our countries also play an important role in promoting regional peace and stability,” Rouhani said at the meeting with his Russian counterpart.
“By developing our relations, we were able to defeat one of the most dangerous terrorist groups,” he added, in reference to the Daesh terrorist organization.
Before the trilateral meeting, Putin met separately Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
Along with meeting the Russian president, Rouhani also met with Aliyev.
The six-year conflict in Syria, Iran’s nuclear energy program and economic cooperation between Moscow and Tehran are expected to top the agenda of Putin’s talks in Iran.
Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan -- which share the Caspian Sea’s oil-rich continental shelf -- are all considered major players in the international oil and gas market.
*Diyar Guldogan contributed to this story from Ankara