Azerbaijan’s First Deputy Prime Minister Shahin Mustafayev and Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian have called for boosting bilateral economic ties, especially in the energy and transportation spheres.
At a meeting in Tehran, Amir-Abdollahian expressed satisfaction with the growth in mutual trade over the past eight months and the swap of Turkmenistan’s gas via Iran to Azerbaijan.
He further described the energy and transportation sectors as two major pillars for the expansion of economic cooperation between Iran and Azerbaijan, stressing the need to use existing capacities for cooperation in different areas.
Amir-Abdollahian also spoke about the need to facilitate the visits of citizens of Iran and Azerbaijan, given the relative control and containment of Covid-19, as well as the need for financial exchange and cooperation in the border provinces.
In his turn, Mustafayev, who is also co-chairman of the Iranian-Azerbaijani Joint Commission of Economic Cooperation, spoke about the latest developments regarding the implementation of the agreements of the joint commission and joint economic projects in the energy and transport sectors.
During his visit to Iran, the Azerbaijani Deputy PM also met Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development, Rostam Ghasemi. Officials discussed the construction and financing of road bridges, as well as the completion of the design of the technical details of the projects.
Referring to the construction and commissioning of road bridges that will pass through the territory of Iran between Azerbaijan’s East Zangazur economic region and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, Mustafayev said that “we think that we will be able to build and put road bridges into operation within a year.”
The deputy prime minister noted that a working group had been created in the railway sector, and discussions of technical details had begun.
“Discussions are also underway on the construction of power transmission lines. These projects will be of great benefit to Iran and Azerbaijan, they will become useful transit links, and our peoples will benefit from this,” Mustafayev said.
According to the Azerbaijani official, cooperation between the two countries covers the areas of energy, oil, gas, investment, transport, and transit, with the last two among the highest priorities.
“We have very successful cooperation in these areas. In the first three months of 2022, the volume of cargo trucking increased by 70 percent compared to the same period of 2021. We see huge potential there and have discussed many projects,” Mustafayev added.
On March 11, Azerbaijan and Iran signed an agreement to establish new transport and electricity supply links connecting mainland Azerbaijan to its exclave of Nakhchivan via Iran. According to the agreement, the two countries plan to launch a new railway, highway, communication, and energy supply lines connecting Azerbaijan’s East Zangazur economic region and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic through the territory of Iran. Four bridges will be built over the Araz River, including two motorways (with a pedestrian crossing) and two railway lines on them.
On May 14, the Iranian foreign minister discussed ways of expanding bilateral cooperation in different spheres in a phone conversation with his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov.
Amir-Abdollahian referred to last year’s meeting between the two countries’ presidents, saying that important agreements at the level of presidents were reached, the full implementation of which was on the joint agenda of Tehran and Baku.
In turn, Bayramov said that the presence of Iranian companies in the reconstruction of Azerbaijan’s Karabakh (Garabagh) region is an important step in this process.
About 2,050 Iranian companies are operating in Azerbaijan, with some of them to be involved in the restoration works in the Azerbaijani territories liberated from Armenian occupation in 2020.