On Iranian capacities for rebuilding war-hit Karabakh

TEHRAN, Jan. 23 (MNA) – The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan can have extensive economic cooperation due to their common historical, religious, cultural and linguistic values, as well as various economic advantages.

At the present time, after the liberation of the seven occupied cities of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the conclusion of a ceasefire agreement between Baku and Yerevan, the benefits of cooperation between the two countries have increased.

The Republic of Azerbaijan pays special attention to the reconstruction of these seven cities in order to stabilize its position in the liberated cities and return the inhabitants of these regions. These cities are adjacent to Iran and along the Aras River, and our country can play a constructive role in this process. The President of Azerbaijan has asked friendly countries to take an active part in the reconstruction of Nagorno-Karabakh, and in the meantime, Iran is the closest and most prepared country to cooperate with Azerbaijan in the reconstruction of these cities.

In the technical field of engineering, Iranian companies and contractors in the field of hardware, software and manpower have valuable experience and worked in the field of civil engineering and modernization. Items required by the Republic of Azerbaijan, such as construction materials and installation items, are produced and available in Iran. Food is abundant in Iran for export to Azerbaijan, and the proximity of the two countries can optimize the speed and security of work.

Former ambassador of Iran to Azerbaijan Mohsen Pak Aein

It is in Azerbaijan's interest to use Iranian companies and contractors to rebuild Nagorno-Karabakh for economic reasons, the proximity between the two countries, the extra familiarity between the two sides and so on. Iran's presence for the reconstruction of Azerbaijan will be possible at a lower cost for this country, and Iranian companies can participate independently or in consortium with other countries in the region and even companies of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the reconstruction of Nagorno-Karabakh.

In the field of transit and transportation, Iran is considered to be the axis connecting the Republic of Azerbaijan to the warm waters of the Persian Gulf, and the Republic of Azerbaijan is the gateway for Iran to enter the Caucasus and reach Europe via the Black Sea. The construction of the Rasht-Astara railway is an opportunity to complete the north-south corridor and connect Asia to Europe, and the acceleration of the construction of the Rasht-Astara railway is emphasized by the governments of the two countries.

In the field of trade, the Republic of Azerbaijan has always been one of the partners of Iran and an importer of non-oil goods of our country, and there are many advantages for cooperation. Azerbaijan has land borders with Ardabil, Gilan and East and West Azerbaijan provinces and sea borders with Mazandaran and Golestan provinces. If we add Zanjan province to this collection due to language sharing, we will see that the activation of Iranian provinces in the economic field is very important.

Setting preferential tariffs neededIn order to increase trade between Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, it is necessary to set preferential tariffs for some goods, for which the necessary documents have been prepared. This measure will increase the competitiveness of traders of the two countries and provide the basis for the development of trade relations. Meanwhile, due to the activities of three free economic zones - Anzali, Mako and Aras in these provinces - Azerbaijani investors can benefit from the existing economic facilities in these areas.

In the field of agriculture and animal husbandry, especially offshore agriculture, there is an extraordinary capacity for cooperation, and one of the most important programs of the two countries is to strengthen the infrastructure in this field. Iran's joint investment in this field is one of the important areas of economic cooperation between the two sides and can play a serious role in providing food to the cities of Azerbaijan.

In the energy sector, the issue of swapping natural gas of the Republic of Azerbaijan through Iran to the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan continues.  In the energy sector, the issue of swapping natural gas of the Republic of Azerbaijan through Iran to the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan continues. Tehran and Baku signed a contract for the project in August 2004, based on which 1 million cubic meters of natural gas is being transferred from Iran to Nakhchivan. The Islamic Republic of Iran participates in the large energy project of the Republic of Azerbaijan related to the development of the largest Shah Deniz gas field with the presence of Niko Oil Company by 10%. At the same time, joint investment of the two countries to explore oil and gas in Alborz region in the Caspian Sea is on agenda.

In the field of electricity supply, the construction of several power plants with a capacity of 500 MW of energy production and 4,000 MW of solar energy production, including 88 development programs of the Republic of Azerbaijan for the rehabilitation of the liberated areas, has been planned. Electricity exchange between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan is done through several power transmission lines, including Imishli-Parsabad, Astara, Araz, Jolfa lines, and the total annual electricity exchange between the two countries is about 700 million kWh.

During the visit of the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to Iran in April 2014, an agreement was signed on the construction and operation of the hydropower plants 'Ordobad' and 'Marzad', the implementation of which will make it possible to supply electricity to the neighboring regions of Iran and Azerbaijan.

Transactions between the two countries should be done through the national currencies

Of course, it is necessary to increase the banking relations between the two countries to strengthen economic cooperation, and especially the transactions between the two countries should be done through the national currencies of the two countries. In this regard, the central bank and the two parties are considering a memorandum of understanding to finance the active companies.

In order to strengthen the economy, the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan has pursued a policy of reducing dependence on oil revenues, and therefore mutual cooperation can help strengthen the economy of the two countries.

The membership of Iran and Azerbaijan in regional organizations such as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and ECO is an important indicator for the connection and dependence of the two countries.

Iran was the main supporter of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh war, and the opinion of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei on the need to preserve the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan and liberate the occupied cities of this country opened a new chapter in relations between the two countries.

The 14th Joint Economic Commission of the two countries, which was held last week, can also be a big step towards establishing close relations and establishing positive interactions for Tehran and Baku.

It is an undeniable fact that countries, through empathy and cooperation, go through the stages of friendship and reach the shores of security and tranquility through cooperation. Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, given the commonalities and existing capacities, can be permanent allies in the region, and strengthening relations with the Republic of Azerbaijan will be a promise of lasting friendship between the two nations.

Mohsen Pak Aein has served as Iranian ambassador to Baku from October 2012 to 2016.

News Code 168882

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