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Azerbaijani defence chief received by Iranian president

27 January 2022 [10:00] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Vugar Khalilov

Azerbaijani Defence Minister Col-Gen Zakir Hasanov was received by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on January 26 as part of his official visit to Tehran.

“The sides expressed satisfaction with the development of bilateral friendly relations between the two countries in various spheres, including military cooperation, and exchanged views on other issues of mutual interest,” the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry said.

Hasanov briefed Raisi on the ongoing reconstruction in Azerbaijan's liberated lands following the 44-day war victory over Armenia in 2020.

The minister expressed gratitude for the warm welcome and conveyed Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's greetings to Iranian President Raisi.

Raisi stated that Azerbaijan and Iran have traditionally coexisted peacefully for generations and that bilateral relations between the two countries are flourishing in all fields.

He emphasized the importance of reciprocal visits in developing relations and stated that friendly and brotherly ties between the two countries would continue to develop effectively in the coming years.

Hasanov also paid a visit to the Azerbaijani embassy in Iran.

Earlier, Hasanov and Iran's high-ranking military officials discussed prospects of Azerbaijan-Iran cooperation in the fields of military, military-technical, and military medicine, the organization of mutual visits of expert groups, and other issues of interest.

The parties emphasized that the experience of fruitful collaboration at the bilateral, regional, and international levels provides a solid foundation for the continued development of Azerbaijan-Iran relations.

Furthermore, in a video-format meeting with the delegation led by Iran's Road and Urban Development Minister, co-chair of Azerbaijan-Iran Joint Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation Rostam Ghasemi on January 25, President Ilham Aliyev said that after the 44-day war with Armenia "great opportunities have emerged for regional cooperation. After the war, Iranian-Azerbaijani relations have expanded in this direction. A very promising 3+3 cooperation platform has been put in place to establish regional cooperation. The first meeting has already taken place. I am confident that these meetings will be held on a regular basis in the interests of countries of the region”.

Aliyev expressed confidence that Iranian companies will begin to work actively in the liberated lands in the near future. He stressed that the relevant instructions had been given to Azerbaijan's Economy Ministry in this regard.

The president added that other issues, such as the creation of the North-South transport corridor, the construction of the Khudafarin Hydroelectric Power Stations, the construction of a bridge over Astarachay, will certainly be among the priorities of the intergovernmental commission.

“I must also say that my meeting with the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran in late November was very successful and important, as it opens new opportunities for Iranian-Azerbaijani relations. This means the opening of a new page in our relations, a page of friendship and brotherhood,” he said.

To recap, Baku and Tehran have already signed a protocol on the construction of a new bridge over the Astarachay River on the Azerbaijani-Iranian border.

It should be noted that after a period of aggravated tensions and a series of regrettable episodes that should have been avoided, Azerbaijani-Iranian relations entered a new age of rapprochement in late 2021.

Iran was one of the 10 signatories of the final declaration of the 15th Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) which, amongst many other clauses, incorporated a congratulatory part dedicated to Azerbaijan’s victory in the 2020 war and the restoration of its territorial integrity. On top of that, a new gas swap deal was signed by Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Iran, which is perceived as another indication that the recent political rupture has been left behind.

On November 28, 2021, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkmenistan signed a trilateral agreement on swapping gas supplies in Ashgabat. The signing ceremony took place in the presence of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi.

The agreement envisages deliveries of 1.5 to 2 billion cubic meters of gas each year, with Turkmenistan supplying gas to Iran and Iran delivering an equal quantity of gas to Azerbaijan. Thus, under the trilateral deal, Turkmenistan will sell 5-6 million cubic meters of gas per day to Azerbaijan. These volumes are expected to increase in the future.

After liberating its lands from Armenian occupation in the 44-day war in 2020, Azerbaijan regained control over a 132-km section of the Azerbaijan-Iran border. The re-establishment of control over the state border opened up new prospects for deeper cooperation between the two countries.

It should be noted that Azerbaijan and Iran's trade turnover in 2020 was $339.1 million. In the first 11 months of 2021, this figure was $390.4 million.


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