By Akbar Mammadov
Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Khalaf Khalafov has voiced his country’s concerns over reported transportation of fuel, raw materials from Iran to Azerbaijan’s Armenian-occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region.
In a phone conversation held with Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Iran Seyed Abbas Aragchi and Iranian envoy Javad Jahangirzadeh on April 15, Khalafov said that recent information and videos in the Armenian media about the transportation of fuel, raw materials and food by trucks with Iranian state license plates to the occupied territories of Azerbaijan “have caused serious concern of Azerbaijani government and deep public dissatisfaction," the foreign ministry reported in its official website on April 16.
"Such incidents serve to support the occupant Armenia and escalate the conflict", Khalafov added.
Khalafov noted that Azerbaijan doesn’t spare effort to protect the high-level ties with Iran, noting that despite the closure of the borders during the pandemic, it protected transit and trade relations between the two countries.
Khalafov “expressed hope that in line with the principles of Azerbaijani-Iranian bilateral ties, the Iranian side would examine the information and videos and make clarification to Azerbaijan.”
In turn, the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister stressed the importance of Iran's relations with Azerbaijan, noting that friendly and fraternal relations will continue. Noting the existence of enemies of Iran-Azerbaijan friendly relations, Aragchi said that "these forces are constantly trying to damage our bilateral relations by providing such information.”
Immediately after the video was released, the country's embassy in Baku was instructed that the information was false and refuted, Aragchi said.
The Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister also thanked the Azerbaijani government for its assistance in combating the pandemic and for keeping the country's borders open for transit and cargo during the pandemic.
In turn, Ambassador Javad Jahangirzadeh said that the country gives importance to the bilateral relations, noting the friendly relations between the presidents of Azerbaijan and Iran.
The ambassador also expressed the Iranian side's deep gratitude for the constant care of the Azerbaijani-Iranian relations by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and the assistance provided to Iran in connection with the pandemic, as well as conditions created for the transit.
On April 13, Iran's Embassy in Azerbaijan commented on the video, which shows trucks allegedly belonging to Iran transporting fuel and food to Azerbaijan’s occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region.
“At the stage of comprehensive development of relations between Tehran and Baku, enemies and forces who do not want bilateral relations be developed and disseminating such kind of false information in order to interfere with this process, are trying to cast a shadow on good neighborly relations between the two countries,” the embassy said.
“We bring to the attention of the distinguished Azerbaijani people that Iran has neither land nor air communication with the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Armenians tried to spoil the relations between the two countries also in the previous years with the help of video or photo materials. As it can be seen, neither the place nor the time is known in the mentioned fake video. The news is completely false. Our expectations from the Azerbaijani media is that prior to the publication of any news, they clarify its reliability and refrain from disseminating information without reference to a reliable source,” said the embassy.
It should be noted that on 7 March, Azerbaijan allocated humanitarian assistance to Iran in the amount of $5 million to combat the coronavirus (COVİD-19), according to Azerbaijan’s Cabinet of Ministers. The ministry reported that the Azerbaijani government ordered the allocation of these funds from the reserve fund of the state budget for 2020. “There are friendly and good neighborly relations between Azerbaijan and Iran. The relevant ministries and government agencies of both countries work closely to prevent the spread of the COVİD-19," said the statement.
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
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