Iran, Azerbaijan mull further judicial cooperation

By: Aynur Jafarova

The expansion of cooperation between Azerbaijani and Iranian judicial authorities as well as continuation of their reciprocal visits was high on the agenda of a series of meetings held in Baku.

Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Director General for Iranian Expatriates’ Affairs Kazem Sajjadi told Trend Agency that the main purpose of the visit of an Iranian delegation to Azerbaijan was to review the living conditions of Iranians residing in Azerbaijan, especially of those in prison and to discuss the extradition of the arrested Iranians.

The talks on these issues were held with the relevant officials of Azerbaijan’s Justice Ministry and Prosecutor General’s Office.

The heads of Azerbaijani and Iranian penal institutions exchanged information and experience on related issues, Sajjadi noted.

“During the visit to Azerbaijan, I’m accompanied by the head of the relevant department of Iranian Health Ministry,” he said. “The issue related to the recognition of diplomas of Iranian students receiving education in Azerbaijan’s Medical University, in Iran will also be reviewed during our visit.”

“This issue will be discussed with the relevant bodies in Azerbaijan. Final decision on this issue will be adopted in Iran after gathering all related information.”

Currently, 836 Iranian students are receiving education in Azerbaijani universities. Some 236 of them are studying in Azerbaijan Medical University.

Sajjadi further said some Azerbaijanis serving sentences in Iran were extradited to Azerbaijan, adding that the rest will be extradited in future as part of an interstate cooperation agreement.

Currently, around 130 Iranian citizens are serving sentences in Azerbaijan. Majority of them are accused of selling or possessing drugs. No decision has been made yet in Azerbaijan with respect to the fate of 52 Iranian citizens held in jail.

Currently, 14 Azerbaijani citizens are serving sentences in Iranian prisons.

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

Recently, the relations between Azerbaijan and Iran, two neighboring countries with a long history of bilateral ties and cooperation, have risen to a higher level.

Tehran has in recent years focused seriously on development of ties with neighboring countries, including Azerbaijan which enjoys various commonalties with Iran in religious, historical and cultural fields.

The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Iran stood at $144.045 million in January-September 2014, according to the State Customs Committee (SCC) of Azerbaijan.

In the past nine months, goods worth $115.6 million were imported to Azerbaijan, and the goods exported by the country amounted to $28.45 million.