Iran and Azerbaijan have signed a contract to bolster their economic cooperation as Baku welcomes Iran’s increased investment and technical assistance to rebuild regions around Nagorno-Karabakh that were liberated following a deadly conflict with ethnic Armenian forces late last year.
The agreement was signed during a meeting of the Joint Commission on Iran-Azerbaijan Economic Cooperation held in the headquarters of the Iranian Finance Ministry on Monday.
Iran’s Finance Minister Farhad Dejpassand said after signing the contract that it will be focused on how the two neighboring countries would be able to expedite current joint projects while introducing mechanisms that could lead to a finalization of future cooperation plans.
Dejpassand said that Azerbaijan had agreed as part of the document to allow Iranian private companies to get involved in various development projects in the country.
The minister elaborated that those projects would be mostly focused on “reconstruction” efforts in Azerbaijan, suggesting that Iran would become involved in plans to develop liberated regions surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s fundamental policy has always been based on deepening and expanding political and economic relations with all countries, especially the Muslim and neighboring countries,” said the minister.
“Relations between Iran and Azerbaijan have a high significance with regard to historic, cultural, religious and economic aspects,” he said.
Shahin Mustafayev, the first deputy prime minister of Azerbaijan, who led his country’s economic delegation in the meeting in Tehran, said the two countries were bracing for a new chapter in their economic ties.
Mustafayev said Azerbaijan would openly welcome the contribution of major Iranian companies to reconstruction programs for the war-torn regions near Nagorno-Karabakh.
After a clean-up in the liberated regions, we will be ready for joint projects with major Iranian companies in those regions in the fields of infrastructure, construction, equipment manufacturing and pharmaceuticals, said Mustafayev, according to remarks published by Iran’s semi-official ILNA news agency.
Iran has officially welcomed the end of decades of occupation in areas surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said last month that liberation of those regions would spur increased economic activity in areas close to the Iranian border.