Tehran calls for broader cross-border exchange with Baku

FNA – Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani, in a Tuesday meeting with Speaker of the National Assembly of Azerbaijan Republic Ogtay Asadov in Tehran, highlighted the commonalities between the two neighboring countries, and called for more cross-border interactions.

Shamkhani described the huge amount of cultural, civilized, religious, linguistic and ethnic commonalities between Iran and Azerbaijan as a unique asset for development and expansion of relations that could benefit the region.

Expressing that the borders of the two countries are the frontiers of peace and friendship, he added, “There are numerous capacities to increase the level of trade between the two countries, whose accelerated activation can lead to the prosperity, stability and security of the two countries.”

The top security official pointed to the efforts and actions of some countries opposing friendly relations between the two countries in order to strike at the strong ties between Tehran and Baku and added, “The security of the countries of the region is collectively secured by adopting common approaches and holding talks as well as close interactions.”

Shamkhani said that some countries have sold their national security to the will and decision of transnational nations and believe that the United States can guarantee their survival, while the only way for governments to continue is relying on national capacities and popular support.

Heading a high-ranking delegation, Asadov met with President Hassan Rouhani and his counterpart Ali Larijani earlier today. The officials discussed a host of issues including the development prospects of bilateral cooperation, as well as security issues.

In relevant remarks in late March, President Hassan Rouhani underlined that expansion of mutual cooperation between Tehran and Baku would not be harmful to any third party state.

“I am delighted that with the extensive efforts of senior officials from both countries, we are witnessing the good results of our joint cooperation today; cooperation which benefits not only the two nations, but the whole region,” Rouhani said.

The Iranian president pointed to the North-South Transit Route, and said, “This corridor which is contributed to by both countries of Iran and Azerbaijan by putting into practice the Rasht-Astara railway project, acts as a more convenient, cheaper and shorter route for the two the countries of Iran and Azerbaijan, the countries of the region, and even for Asia, Europe and Africa.”

“It means that our cooperation is in the interests of the people of the region and the whole world,” President Rouhani added.

He also referred the establishment of free trade between the two countries as a step in the direction of high mobility in economic relations between the two countries, and said, “First, we can start the free trade program with setting preferential tariff for some goods, and this move can affect the volume of trade between the two countries.”