Mr. Aliyev’s entourage arrived in Tehran earlier on Sunday and both delegations engaged in high-level talks on economy and bilateral matters of interest. Mr. Rouhani reiterated his government’s grand policy of détente with neighbors and the general view that Iran highly evaluated relations with its neighbors especially Republic of Azerbaijan. “I and Mr. Aliyev support improvement of ties and both sides had been working to bring relations to a level in par with cultural and social contacts historically linking two countries in the region,” Rouhani told the meeting.
“Iran and Republic of Azerbaijan had been in the right track to boost their relations during past few years; I express gratitude to joint economic commission which had been working to implement deals signed; a field of interest is transportation where Astara cities in both sides of the border are linked by a railroad; in the future, the railroad will come to Rasht and then will connect to nationwide railroad to connect the republic in Caucasus down to Persian Gulf to the free seas,” Rouhani added.
Rouhani also touched upon the important issue of the Caspian Sea legal regime which had been the subject of many meetings with littoral states; he believed Tehran and Baku could work together in preparing the legal regime. On energy and auto-making industry, Rouhani said Iran would establish car factory in the republic along with pharmaceutical production line as a step forward mutual cooperation.
Rouhani hailed naming of 2017 as year of Islamic Solidarity as a measure which would help improve the country’s cultural identity as an Islamic country; on important issue of Nagorno-Karabakh, president assured Aliyev that Iran respected territorial integrity of its neighbors and the crisis with Armenia should be solved through political dialogue; “Iran will stand in Azerbaijan’s side as a brother country,” he pomised.
Mr. Aliyev for his part, expressed gratitude for warm welcome to Tehran by Iranian officials; “this is an honor for Azerbaijan Republic to improve ties with his southern neighbor Iran; we are pleased to see that bilateral ties had culminated in recent years; ties with Iran are based on historical friendship and cultural strong bonds, which highly contributes to boosting bilateral ties,” he told Rouhani.
Aliyev also shared Rouhani’s view that Caspian Sea legal regime was of utmost importance; “we believe Iran and Azerbaijan should work to address environmental issue of the Sea; Rasht-Astara railroad is crucial in revolutionizing transportation both sides of the border; both sides work to facilitate visa issuance and banking cooperation to positively help both nations,” he added. “The recent convergence of Iran, Russia, and Turkey and efforts to solve crisis in Syria provides a good example of regionalism in diplomatic corridors; the trilateral convergence also highlights Iran’s role in fighting terrorism and effective force in the region,” he concluded.