The Iranian press has praised the visit of President Hassan Rouhani to Turkey amid the two countries’ differences over the Syrian civil war and disputes over gas prices. Iranian dailies on Tuesday widely covered Rouhani’s two-day visit to Ankara, describing it as the ‘breaking of a spell’ and a ‘new page in relations’ between the two nations. The Iranian media mostly focused on trade agreements, energy ties and Turkey’s stance on Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Most dailies covered the ten cooperation agreements signed on Monday between the two countries, in which a new and higher goal for trade volume was set at US$30 billion by 2015. Daily Itimad, a reformist newspaper, ran with the headline: "18-year spell on Turkey visit breaks.”

The last official visit to Turkey by an Iranian president was when Hashemi Rafsanjani visited in 1996; former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad paid an unofficial visit in 2008. The daily added that relationships between two countries had split over differences regarding Syria, with Iran being an ally of the Bashar al-Assad regime and Turkey being one of its fiercest critics.

The daily also wrote that Turkey has applied for arbitration on the cost of natural gas sales as Ankara considers the price of Iranian gas to be unfairly high. If Turkey wins, Iran will make a loss about US$2-2.5 billion, it also went on. Turkey and Iran may settle the issue without arbitration if diplomatic negotiations continue, the daily said.

Iran is the most expensive gas supplier to Turkey, which imports most of its 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year from Russia.

Daily Arman, known to be close to the government in Tehran, ran the headline: "Beginning of a new chapter in Tehran-Ankara relations.” The daily quoted Turkish President Abdullah Gul as saying he welcomed ongoing negotiations between the West and Iran over Tehran’s controversial nuclear program.

Iran and the P5+1 group of nations signed an agreement last November, requesting Iran suspend its uranium enrichment activities until July 20, in return for easing economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Iran has diluted half of its enriched uranium in accordance with an interim nuclear agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported April 17.