By Aynur Karimova
Iran has expressed readiness to cooperate with Azerbaijan to develop fields in the Caspian Sea.
The Islamic Republic's Communications and Information Technology Minister, Mahmoud Vaezi, who addressed a meeting with Azerbaijan's Economy and Industry Minister Shahin Mustafayev on April 21, called on the two countries to expand cooperation in this field, regardless of low oil prices.
He recalled the agreement on continuation of the construction and operation of hydroelectric power plants and hydroelectric complexes Khudaferin and Giz Galasi on the Araz River.
"We should take a similar step in relation to the development of fields in the Caspian Sea," Vaezi noted.
Azerbaijan and Iran, two neighbor countries and strategic partners, have been strengthening ties since the removal of international sanctions against Tehran in January 2016. On February 23, Azerbaijan's state energy giant SOCAR signed two memorandums of understanding with National Iranian Oil Company and Ghadir Investment Company as part of President Ilham Aliyev's Tehran visit.
The recent development of bilateral relations between the two energy-rich neighbor countries promise new opportunities and prospects for economic cooperation between the two countries, in particular in the energy sector.
Iran and Azerbaijan are already conducting negotiations in this direction.
Baku and Tehran are engaged in the implementation of several oil and gas projects. In particular, the Islamic Republic participated in the development of Azerbaijan’s giant Shah Deniz gas field in the Azerbaijani section of the Caspian Sea.
The two countries carry out gas swap operations: Azerbaijan supplies its fuel to Iran’s northern provinces while Iran ensures the gas demand of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
Currently, the possibility of transporting Iranian gas through Azerbaijan to Europe via the Southern Gas Corridor is high on the agenda of talks between the two governments.
Azerbaijan and Iran have also inked an agreement on cooperation in the field of energy and use of water resources, continuation of the construction and operation of hydroelectric power plants and hydroelectric complexes Khudaferin and Giz Galasi on the Araz River President Aliyev's visit to Tehran.
The agreement includes principles of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and Iran, highlights the need to restore the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan in accordance with the UN resolutions, proclaims equal rights for water and energy resources along hydroelectric complexes Khudaferin and Giz Galasi.
Under the document, Iran is committed to ensure completion of construction of hydroelectric complexes and hydroelectric power plants, preservation and operation of water and energy resources at hydroelectric complexes and hydroelectric power plants until the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan is restored.
The agreement says that the sides will use these facilities on equal terms. Azerbaijani specialists will be involved in construction and operation of the facilities in accordance with the agreement.
Aynur Karimova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter @Aynur_Karimova
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz