Whilst relations between Iran and Azerbaijan appeared to be tense in the last months, all it seems has been forgiven after an Iranian minister took the unusual step of arriving in the country for meetings with his Azerbaijani counterparts using the newly constructed Fizuli airport, in territory Azerbaijan retook from Armenia during the recent 44 day Karabakh War.
"It is difficult to say who exactly determined the route of the visit to Azerbaijan by the Minister of Roads and Urban Development of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Rustam Gasemi. However, its results really impressed both guests and hosts," the influential Azerbaijani website Haqqin.az wrote on Tuesday.
That echoed the views of president Ilham Aliyev who earlier that day welcomed the Iranian minister and his delegation in a virtual meeting:
"Dear Minister, dear members of the Iranian delegation, welcome to Azerbaijan. I am very glad that your visit to Azerbaijan began with the liberated lands. Yesterday, you flew directly from Iran to Fuzuli, into Fuzuli International Airport, visited both Fuzuli and Zangilan. We do appreciate it very much", the Azerbaijani president said. President Aliyev recalled his meeting with the Iranian president, Ibrahim Raisi in November, describing it as "very successful and meaningful". The president said that that meeting opened new opportunities for Iran-Azerbaijan relations. "This means the opening of a new page in our relations, a page of friendship and brotherhood."
Among the topics discussed by Minister Gasemi during his visit to Azerbaijan were the creation of the North-South transportation corridor, the construction of the Khudafarin Hydroelectric Power Stations, and the construction of a bridge over the Astarachay. It was announced that the latter will be ready within one year and will be funded directly by Iran and Azerbaijan.
In the meantime, Azerbaijani Defence Minister Zakir Hasanov was in Iran this week, and on Wednesday met with president Raisi in Tehran. The Iranian news agency MHER quoted the Iranian president as saying that "Tehran-Baku relations are based on shared religious beliefs, adding that the Israeli regime is the enemy of humanity that cannot be a friend to Muslim states." Raisi further described Iran and Azerbaijan as "two relatives that enjoy deeply-rooted relations based on shared religious beliefs."
source: commonspace.eu with the press service of the president of Azerbaijan, Haqqin.az (Baku) Mher news agency (Tehran) and other agencies.
Photo: Iranian Minister Rustam Gasemi speaking at the breaking of ground of a new bridge over the Astarachay on 25 January 2022 (picture courtesy of Trend News Agency, Baku).