TEHRAN: Iranian envoy hails ties with Azerbaijan

Iranian envoy hails ties with Azerbaijan

Turan news agency
8 Feb 05

Baku, 8 February: Relations between Iran and Azerbaijan are developing
successfully in all directions and are based on mutual confidence and
a solid contractual basis. Bilateral agreements envisage cooperation
in the political, security, economic and cultural fields, the
Iranian ambassador to Azerbaijan, Afshar Soleymani [Mowla-Yusef],
told today’s press conference to mark the 26th anniversary of the
Islamic revolution.

Soleymani believes that Iran spares no effort to achieve stability
in the region. “Iran’s foreign policy is based on justice. Iran does
not accept pressure and does not resort to it,” the ambassador said.

Soleymani also expressed his attitude towards the latest statements of
US officials on Iran. “The Islamic revolution is 26 years old. Since
the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, not a single Iranian
citizen has been arrested on charges of involvement in terror
attacks. However, citizens of America were detained for involvement
in terrorism,” Soleymani added.

He believes that a US military operation against Iran is unreal. The
ambassador assumes that no country supports the US policy against
Iran. “Until now the Americans have failed to maintain peace in Iraq
and Afghanistan,” Soleymani said.

Speaking on Iranian-Armenian relations, the ambassador said that among
Iran’s neighbours, Azerbaijan is the closest country. The security
of Iran and Azerbaijan is closely connected. “As for some trade
relations between Iran and Armenia, they are not against Azerbaijan,”
the ambassador said.

The ambassador played down reports on displaying the Azerbaijani
national flag upside down during Ilham Aliyev’s visit to Iran [on
24-26 January 2005]. He thinks that some forces are interpreting
“negatively” the Azerbaijani president’s “fruitful” visit to Iran.

Soleymani described an agreement on cooperation in the field
of railways as an important outcome of the visit. A meeting of
representatives of the Azerbaijani, Iranian and Russian railways
will take place in Baku on 9 February to set up a consortium for the
building of a junction of the Astara-Rasht-Qazvin railway, which will
link the railways of the three countries.

Iran is also for the repeal of the visa regime between the two
countries. An agreement has been achieved providing for four visa-free
visits to the territories of the two countries within the limit of
45 km. He also said that negotiations on Baku-Tabriz flights were
under way.