Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday hailed the growing relations between Iran and Azerbaijan in various fields, economy in particular, saying the two countries can connect Asia and Africa to northern Europe.
"Iran and Azerbaijan can turn into a highway connecting regions in Asia and Africa to northern Europe in the future," Rouhani said at a meeting with Azerbaijani Minister of Economic Development Shahin Mustafayev in Tehran, as he pointed to joint efforts in completing a railway connecting Iran’s northern city of Rasht to Azerbaijan’s Astara.
Rouhani stressed the necessity to encourage the public and private sectors of the two sides to develop cooperation and joint investments.
“Today, the two countries have good relations in different sectors such as industry, pharmacy, automobile manufacturing, agriculture and tourism,” he said.
Rouhani further said good relations between Iran and Azerbaijan are in the best interests of the two nations and stressed the necessity of efforts to boost cooperation.
Referring to the official invitation of his counterpart to travel to Azerbaijan in the near future, the president expressed hope that the visit would cement friendship and cooperation.
"The history and culture of Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan are interconnected, and we must work hard for two nations to have unbreakable ties in political, economic and social fields," Rouhani said.
The Azerbaijani minister highlighted the determination of Tehran and Baku to deepen ties in all areas and said joint investments and the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries have dramatically increased in recent years.
"Investments and the volume of trade between the two countries have increased dramatically in recent years," Mustafayev said.
He also described the visit of the Iranian president to Azerbaijan as a move to bring about a jump in the relations and cooperation between the two countries.
Mustafayev referred to cooperation between Iran and Azerbaijan in various sectors, including energy, transportation, railways, pharmaceuticals, car manufacturing, health, tourism, and cultural and academic sectors, saying: "The two countries' common history and culture have made a bond between the people of Iran and Azerbaijan and the development of cooperation between the two countries will serve peace and security in the region."
12 deals finalized
Earlier on Tuesday, delegations from Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan held a new session of a joint commission on mutual cooperation in Tehran, finalizing 12 agreements the two sides had drafted in the past.
The 12th meeting of Iran-Azerbaijan Intergovernmental Commission for Economic, Trade and Humanitarian Cooperation was co-chaired by Iranian Economy Minister Masoud Karbasian and Mustafayev.
Iran and Azerbaijan have accelerated efforts in recent years to forge closer partnership in various areas.
In February 2016, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev paid an official visit to Tehran, during which the two sides signed 11 memorandums of understanding and agreements to promote mutual cooperation in a range of fields.
Tasnim and president.ir contributed to this story.