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Iran and Azerbaijan vow to expand economic ties

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Staffers at the Iranian Foreign Ministry in Tehran inspect flags of Iran and Azerbaijan before a meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister Shahin Mustafayev on November 21, 2021. .

Iran and Azerbaijan have vowed to take their economic and trade ties to a new level amid efforts in the two countries to ease tensions that started two months ago over border and transportation issues.

Iran’s transportation minister Rostam Qassemi said on Sunday that he had discussed an array of economic issues with visiting Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister Shahin Mustafayev.

Qassemi said Iran and Azerbaijan would seek to remove obstacles hampering trade between the two countries, including the need for Iranian trucks to pay heavy taxes while passing through the Azerbaijani territory.

“We will examine the issue of tolls on Iranian trucks and (how) to facilitate transportation ties between the two countries,” said Qassemi, adding that he would raise the tolling issue in a private meeting with Mustafayev.

Relations between Iran and Azerbaijan hit an unprecedented low in September when Azerbaijan decided to impose restrictions on Iranian trucks passing through territories liberated in a war last year with neighboring Armenia.

However, ties started to improve last month after Azerbaijan freed two Iranian drivers arrested over alleged charges of trespassing.

Mustafayev, who heads a high-level delegation in his visit to Tehran, said after the meeting with Qassemi that Baku was keen to expand its relations with Iran in all economic sectors.

He said that there would be some good news in the near future about increased energy cooperation between Iran and Azerbaijan, including on joint oil and gas projects between the two countries.

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