Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei receives Azeri President Ilham Aliyev in Tehran on March 5.
Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei receives Azeri President Ilham Aliyev in Tehran on March 5.

Call for Enhanced Iran-Azeri Trade

Bilateral trade between Iran and Azerbaijan grew by 70% in 2016, following the implementation of several cooperation agreements signed in recent years

Call for Enhanced Iran-Azeri Trade

Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said the level of economic cooperation between Iran and Azerbaijan is low in view of the two sides' capacities, calling for a tenfold rise in bilateral trade.    
Ayatollah Khamenei made the statement in a meeting with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev in Tehran on Sunday, IRNA reported.
The top Azeri official said mutual ties are "at an excellent level" and hostile efforts to undermine the relationship will get nowhere.
In a joint news conference with his Azeri counterpart earlier in the day, President Hassan Rouhani said the considerable growth in annual trade between Tehran and its northwestern neighbor shows the two countries are on the right path of developing wide-ranging cooperation.
Bilateral trade grew by 70% in 2016 to $500 million, following the implementation of several cooperation agreements signed in recent years.
Hailing "friendly, brotherly and strategic" relations, Rouhani said bilateral political, economic and cultural cooperation has grown significantly in the past three years and the two countries should keep up efforts on this path.
Rouhani said the two countries should work to implement their part in developing the International North-South Transportation Corridor, a route stretching from the Indian Ocean to Russia, China, Central Asia and East Europe.
The president said Iran is ready to swap oil and oil products with Azerbaijan.
The president also said the two Muslim countries hold similar views on regional issues.
"Both countries believe [the spread of] terrorism, which is rooted in the Wahhabi ideology, is a major threat to the region, and agree that terrorist ideologies must be uprooted from the region once and for all. We share common views on the conflicts in Syria and Iraq", he said.
Rouhani noted that Tehran believes regional problems should be solved through dialogue and the territorial integrity of countries must be respected.
Aliyev said his government intends to establish "deep and long-lasting" relations with the Islamic Republic, adding that their friendship is in the interest of the two nations and the region.
The Azeri president hailed Iranian firms for making investments in Azerbaijan, noting that the completion of the transportation corridor could deliver considerable benefits for regional nations.
Aliyev thanked Tehran for its efforts to resolve the Karabakh dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
The two leaders also discussed environmental cooperation in the Caspian Sea, as well as efforts to formulate a legal regime for the body of water shared by Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.
Before the presser and after a meeting between high-ranking delegations of the two countries, the two sides' officials signed two memorandums of understanding on fighting money laundering and expanding railroad links.
Aliyev's visit to Tehran was the third in the past three years. He last visited Iran in February 2016 when the two sides signed 11 memorandums of understanding and agreements to promote mutual cooperation in a wide range of fields.

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