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Baku, Tehran enhance relations through preserving historical traditions & values

20 May 2024 16:37 (UTC+04:00)
Baku, Tehran enhance relations through preserving historical traditions & values
Elnur Enveroglu
Elnur Enveroglu
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Iran has, for a long time, been one of the closest strategic allies for Azerbaijan among the South Caucasus states. One of the reasons for this is that both countries share large borders, both on land and at sea.

In addition, the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Iran has always been at a high index. So, if we look at last year's indicator, we can see that Azerbaijan's exports to Iran amounted to 14.31 million US dollars.

The main means of trade between Iran and Azerbaijan is carried out by railway and highway. Earlier this year, in a statement to the media, Director General of Iran's North Railway Administration-2, Gholam-Hossein Valadi, referring to the volume of imports, exports and the transit of cargo at the Astara Border Terminal, said that the exchange of goods between Iran and Azerbaijan recorded a 33% growth in the last nine months. Nearly 498,000 tons of goods were exchanged at the Astara Border Terminal, according to official Iranian sources.

Further to Valadi's statement, 152,268 tons of non-oil products were imported into Iran from Azerbaijan via rail in this period, showing about a 63% hike year-on-year.

Azerbaijan's victory in the Second Garabagh War and the liberation of Garabagh from the Armenian occupation have already created great prospects for the expansion of relations with Iran across all borders. The presidents of Azerbaijan and Iran emphasised this in their discussions during the meeting yesterday.

It should be noted that on May 19, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi met at the state border of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan. The high-level meeting between the parties was remembered as a symbol of sincerity and brotherhood. In addition, the parties expressed their views on the construction of the “Khudafarin” dam, and it was discussed that the conditions that Azerbaijan has built there in the last 4 years will have a positive effect on both the opening of jobs and the further development of relations between Iran and Azerbaijan.

In addition, the heads of state voiced their opinion about the newly built bridge in the direction of Agband, a project that will become the main transport-transit road connecting the regions.

President Ilham Aliyev called that bridge the next transport link and, at the same time, the next symbol of friendship.

At present, one direction of the North-South Transport Corridor is being constructed from the direction of Agband.

The meeting of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev with the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Seyyed Ibrahim Raisi, on May 19 was also remembered by important events. Thus, with the participation of the presidents, the commissioning ceremony of the "Khudafarin" hydroelectric complex built on the Araz river and the opening ceremony of the "Giz Galasi" hydroelectric complex were held.

Both hydroelectric complexes built on the border between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Islamic Republic of Iran on the Araz River were built for the purposes of electricity generation and irrigation. The hydroelectric complex project was developed on the basis of the agreement signed in October 1977 between the Soviet Union and Iran. Although the construction of hydroelectric complexes, the projects of which were revised in the early 1990s, was stopped as a result of the occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory by Armenia, construction works were carried out only by the Islamic Republic of Iran in later periods.

In 2020, as a result of the Patriotic War, the lands of Azerbaijan, including the area where the hydroelectric stations were built, were freed from occupation. According to the Decree on some issues related to the continuation of the construction and commissioning of the "Khudaferin" and "Giz Galasy" hydroelectric stations and hydropower plants on the Araz River, "AzerEnergy" OJSC was identified as a customer by the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2021.

Works on the construction of water dams at the "Khudaferin" and "Gız Galası" hydroelectric complexes, which will serve to improve the production of electricity and water supply of agricultural fields by efficiently using the water resources of the Araz River, have been completed, and the works of filling water reservoirs have begun. Currently, 503 million cubic metres of water are stored in the "Khudafarin" reservoir and 42 million cubic metres of water in the "Giz Galasi" reservoir, which is 40 and 85 percent of the total capacity.

The meeting between Azerbaijan and Iran also contributed to the elimination of the crisis in bilateral relations. Azerbaijan recently decided to determine the location for reopening its embassy in Tehran. Although the diplomatic tension between the two countries started after the terrorist attack on the Azerbaijani embassy in January 2023 and the killing of the embassy employees with guns, later, official Tehran arrested the criminal who committed the crime and sentenced him to death. Over the course of a year, Iran repeatedly appealed to Baku to restore diplomatic relations with Azerbaijan.

In addition, note that after the meeting between the presidents of Azerbaijan and Iran, the president of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, along with other ministers and official state representatives, had an accident while leaving for Tabriz in his helicopter. According to official sources, it is reported that the president of Iran and other members of the delegation were killed as a result of the accident. Besides, it was confirmed that the accident was due to technical reasons and foggy weather conditions.

Immediately after the incident, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, sent an offer of support to the Iranian government. In addition, President Ilham Aliyev expressed his deep condolences to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, over the helicopter crash in Iran, expressing his condolences over the deaths of his Iranian counterpart Raisi and other official representatives.

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