Azerbaijan, Iran discuss bilateral cooperation in military sphere

By: Sara Rajabova

Cooperation with Iran is among the main priorities in Azerbaijan’s foreign policy. Azerbaijani Defense Minister, Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov, who is visiting Iran, made the remark during his meeting with Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghani on April 14.

Azerbaijani and Iranian defense ministers discussed bilateral relations and regional security during the meeting.

Hasanov stressed the cultural, historical, political and religious affinities between the two countries and expressed hope that military ties between Iran and Azerbaijan could develop as a result of this visit.

He noted that Iran is a great country in the region, a neighbor and friend of Azerbaijan.

Hasanov further said relations between the two countries have been actively developed and reached to a new level in recent years.

He added that there is mutual understanding and trust between the defense ministries of the two countries.

Hasanov expressed confidence that Iran’s cooperation with the international community in the nuclear sphere will lead to a final agreement in this area.

Also, touching upon the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Hasanov said Armenia continues occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijan`s lands for more than 20 years, while over million Azerbaijanis were living as refugees and IDPs.

He said the settlement of the problem would contribute to establishing peace and security in the region.

Dehghani, in turn, said grounds are prepared for expansion of political, cultural, economic and security cooperation between the two countries.

He said Iran and Azerbaijan have common stands on regional and international issues, adding that the new Iranian government has called for expansion of relations and cooperation with neighboring states.

Dehghani stressed that Tehran attaches great importance to promotion of political relations with Baku.

He said Iran is ready to meet the demands of Azerbaijan in defense sector, adding that the current visit of the Azerbaijani defense minister to Iran would help upgrade current level of defense and military cooperation between the two countries.

Dehgani went on to say that expansion of cooperation on border lines would help bring more security and tranquility for both sides.

He also referred to the fighting underway with terrorism and violence both in the region and the world.

Azerbaijani Defense Minister invited his Iranian counterpart to visit Azerbaijan.

Following the meeting Hasanov also viewed an exhibition of Iranian defense products.

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

Data from the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan shows that trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $281.03 million in 2013, which is 6.13 percent higher than 2012. The figure stood at $263.785 million in 2012.