"I am delighted that with the extensive efforts of senior officials from both countries, we are witnessing the good results of our joint cooperation today; cooperation which benefits not only the two nations but the whole region," said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, reported Mehr News Agency.
The Iranian president made the remarks on Wednesday evening at a joint meeting between the high-ranking delegations of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan in Baku.
The north-south transit route, which is contributed to by both countries of Iran and Azerbaijan by putting into practice the Rasht-Astara railway project, acts as a more convenient, cheaper and shorter route for the two the countries of Iran and Azerbaijan, the countries of the region, and even for Asia, Europe and Africa. It means that our cooperation is in the interests of the people of the region and the whole world,” said Mr. Rouhani, whose words were reaffirmed by his Azerbaijani counterpart.
The president also said that tapping new joint projects, which are the results of joint investments and joint efforts, shows that the two countries are determined to develop bilateral and multilateral relations to take longer steps.
“Jointly produced vehicles should meet the standards for competing in the regional market,” said President Rouhani, pointing out that Iran and Azerbaijan should try to make more profitable joint ventures, referring to the joint venture between the two countries in automobile production.
The president referred the establishment of free trade between the two countries as a step in the direction of high mobility in economic relations between the two countries. “First, we can start the free trade program with setting preferential tariff for some goods, and this move can affect the volume of trade between the two countries.”
Rouhani urged the further strengthening of banking cooperation between Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan. He announced Iran’s readiness to use the national currency on joint exchanges, added, "Facilitating banking relations is the key to the comprehensive development of bilateral relations.”
"Our new cooperation in the Caspian Sea means that the littoral states should maximize tapping the merits of this God-given blessing,” the Iranian president said after calling the Caspian Sea a sea of development, peace and friendship. He emphasized that the sea can could further consolidate the brotherly relations between the two countries.
The Iranian president was warmly received at Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport on Wednesday by Azerbaijan’s officials, including deputy prime minister, deputy foreign minister and chief of the Protocol Service of the President.
The visit to Baku comes on the heels of President Rouhani’s two-day stay in Turkmenistan where he held intensive talks with President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow and signed 13 MoUs to consolidate bilateral ties.
During his visit to Baku, which came upon the official invitation of President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, President Rouhani will confer with his counterpart on bilateral, regional and international issues.
He is also scheduled to attend a meeting of high-ranking delegations of Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan and participate in the ceremony of signing of MoUs by the officials of the two countries.
Taking part at Iran-Azerbaijan Joint Economic Cooperation Conference, and opening joint projects and plans, including a joint automobile factory and Astara railway, are also among Rouhani’s agenda.
The two sides will also sign a cooperation document on oil and gas in the Caspian Sea, which is considered as an important document in the development of economic relations between Tehran and Baku.
Mr. Rouhani is accompanied by his chief of staff, economic adviser, as well as ministers of roads and urban development, industry, and energy.