Iran calls for Baku – Rasht flight opening

By: Sara Rajabova

Muhammad Ali Najafi, the governor of Iran’s Gilan province, has said Iran is interested in opening flight route between Baku and Rasht.

Speaking to journalists on November 17 at the exhibition Iran Project 2015 in Baku, he said this will enhance cooperation between the two countries in the tourism sector.

Najafi said there is great potential for enhanced cooperation in tourism between Gilan province and Azerbaijan.

“We are very interested in opening flight routes between Baku and Rasht, which will increase mutual tourist flow. Also, there is good potential for development of marine tourism by transporting tourists between the port of Anzali and Baku via the Caspian Sea. We can ferry passengers by using speedboats,” Najafi said.

He noted that the entrepreneurs of Gilan and Azerbaijan have also big potential for making mutual investments, adding that the Azerbaijani-Iranian business forum held in Baku on November 16 confirmed the rising interest in this sphere.

Najafi went on to say that Azerbaijan and Iran have great trade potential.

“The Gilan province has a great export potential. There is opportunity to export subtropical fruits, cement, as well as the other construction materials and a number of other products to Azerbaijan. At the same time, Azerbaijan has the ability to export to Gilan a number of products that we need,” Najafi said.

He further noted that the foremost need was to simplify procedures regulating crossing the border between the two countries if they wanted to develop trade and tourism.

“Earlier, the citizens living in border settlements could easily cross the border in either direction, though for onward travel to other cities of Iran, such as Tabriz and Tehran, it was necessary to obtain a visa. Now Iran has scrapped the visa regime with Azerbaijan, so it will be good if Azerbaijan simplifies visa regime. This will allow us to develop tourism relations and carry out small trade,” Najafi said.

Najafi also added that during the visit he had planned a series of meetings, which will serve to ensure expansion of relations between Azerbaijan and Iran.

Azerbaijan and Iran have had diplomatic relations since 1918. Iran recognized Azerbaijan’s independence in 1991, and diplomatic ties between the two countries were re-established in 1992.

Currently, the two countries are focusing on expanding economic ties in various fields, including industry, agriculture, energy, alternative energy and transportation.

The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Iran amounted to $86.48 million, according to Azerbaijan’s State Customs Committee.


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