Putin praises Iran's Raisi, asks parliament speaker to pass on condolences

(Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the late president of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, as a reliable partner always good to his word and asked the chairman of parliament on Tuesday to convey his sympathy at memorial events.

Raisi was killed in a helicopter crash near the Azerbaijan border over the weekend along with his foreign minister and seven others.

"He was truly a reliable partner, a man sure of himself, who acted in the national interest," Russian news agencies quoted Putin as telling Vyacheslav Volodin, chairman of the State Duma lower house of parliament.

"He was, of course, a man of his word and it was always good to work with him. What I mean is if we came to an agreement on something, you could be sure the agreement was carried out," Putin said.

The Kremlin leader asked Volodin, who will be attending memorial events in Iran, to pass on "words of our sincere condolences in connection with this tragedy".

Putin expressed his condolences to interim Iranian president Mohammad Mokhber and to the whole Iranian people on Monday.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Russia has strengthened political, trade and military ties with Iran in a deepening relationship that the United States and Israel view with concern.

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Bill Berkrot)