By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Azerbaijan and Iran intend to further expand their cooperation in the sphere of transportation.
The two countries plan to open a regular passenger route between Baku and Mashhad, the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies of Azerbaijan said in a message.
During the recent meeting of the joint Azerbaijani-Iranian commission held in Baku, the parties discussed issues related to the sphere of international automobile relations, based on the agreement “On international road transport” signed in Tehran in May 2002 between the two countries.
The meeting discussed the current state of international road transport between Azerbaijan and Iran, the exchange of statistical data on trade relations and the use of permit forms by road carriers of the two countries.
Besides, the sides touched upon the problems arising in the process of transportation of goods and passengers, and ways to solve them, the volume of quota of permit forms for 2019 for transportation, prospects for their development and other topical issues.
The parties stressed that in 2018, the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Iran made up $446 million, which is an increase of 74 percent compared with 2017.
Following the meeting, the sides reached an agreement on the elimination of the restrictions applied to cargo vehicles registered in Azerbaijan when entering Iran without cargo.
At the end of the commission meeting, the final protocol was signed.
Iran recognized Azerbaijan's independence in 1991, and diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1992.
So far, more than 150 documents have been signed between Iran and Azerbaijan. More than 1,000 Iranian companies operating in industry, construction, services, communications, trade, transport, agriculture and other spheres are registered in Azerbaijan. Iranian investments in Azerbaijan reached $3.4 billion.
Iran sees Azerbaijan as a hub to reach larger regional markets. The cooperation on transportation between Iran and Russia through Azerbaijan is crucial in the realization of the International North-South Transport Corridor project.
In the framework of the North-South transport corridor, Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia signed an agreement in 2005 on the construction of the 375 km long Astara-Rasht-Qazvin railway. It envisages the construction of a new railway line in Iran, which will connect Astara, Azerbaijan to the Iranian cities of Astara, Rasht and Qazvin as well as the reconstruction of an existing railway in Azerbaijan.
The railway between Astara regions of Azerbaijan and Iran has been completed. The foundation of the Rasht-Astara railway is not yet laid. On March 6, 2019, the opening ceremony of the Qazvin-Rasht railway was held in Iran’s Gilan Province.
In general, Azerbaijan and Iran share common values, history and traditions that bound them. The two countries are eager to develop their non-oil economy, integrate regional transport networks and boost mutually advantageous business projects in order to stimulate trade volume.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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