Mohammad Eslami, who was speaking after a meeting with Azerbaijani Minister of Economy and Industry Shahin Mustafayev, added during a tour of Astara Railways that the noticeable growth in Iran-Azerbaijan economic relations was due to good relations among the officials and inauguration of Astara-Astara Railway, reported Fars News Agency.
"Iran-Azerbaijan railroad cooperation has exposed the two countries' capacities," Eslami said, noting that with the inauguration of Qazvin-Rasht and Rasht-Astara railroad and Azerbaijan-Iran highway, a dramatic change will be witnessed in trade exchanges between the two countries.
"In the past five years, some 12 meetings have been held between the two countries' presidents, indicating political resolve of the two countries to promote relations," he recounted.
Azerbaijan's minister of economy said that his country intends to connect Astara-Baku highway to Iran's Astara and preliminary studies have been conducted to this effect.
The deal to build the expressway will be concluded during the next meeting of the two countries' presidents, he said.
Mustafayev further noted that Azerbaijan Republic supports joint economic projects with Iran and a meeting of Iran-Azerbaijan Joint Economic Cooperation will be held in Baku.
In March, President Hassan Rouhani underlined that expansion of Tehran-Baku cooperation would not harm any third party.
"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," Rouhani said.
The Iranian president pointed to the North-South Transit Route, and said, "This corridor which is contributed to by both Iran and Azerbaijan by putting into operation the Rasht-Astara railway project, acts as a more convenient, cheaper and shorter route for Iran and Azerbaijan, the countries of the region, and even for Asia, Europe and Africa."
President Rouhani added, "It means that our cooperation is in the interests of the people of the region and the entire world."
He also referred the establishment of free trade between the two countries as a step in ensuring high mobility in economic relations between the two countries, and said, "First, we can start the free trade program with setting preferential tariff for some goods, and this move can affect the trade between the two countries."