BAKU (Itar-Tass)–Azerbaijan occupies an important place in Iran’s relations with other countries–above all with neighbors–said Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Murtaza Sarmadi on Tuesday before consultations with his Azeri counterpart Khalaf Khalafov.
According to Sarmadi–Iranian-Azeri cooperation is predetermined–above all–by historic–spiritual and religious relations between the two countries. He claimed that this cooperation should be raised to a higher level.
Stating that this is the aim of his visit to Azerbaijan–the Iranian diplomat suggested for discussion questions on intensification of bilateral contacts. According to the deputy minister–the geopolitical position of the two countries is another factor which should be taken into account.
Both of them are located–as he said–in a very tense region and should treat each other with understanding.
Azeri Foreign Minister Tofik Zyulfugarov who was present at the meeting–described relations between the two counties as developing.
The minister said that he had already talked with the Iranian deputy foreign minister last Monday right after his arrival in Baku–expressing a wish that today’s meeting should be interesting and mutually beneficial.
Baku analysts regard the present level of relations between Azerbaijan and Iran as restrained. They base their appraisal on the fact that Teheran blames Baku for cooperation with foreign companies–above all with American. Moreover–it opposes the presence of the latter in the region.
On the other hand–the Azeri side is dissatisfied with expanding relations between Iran and Armenia–a country with which Azerbaijan is still in the state of an armed conflict.
Besides–the two countries have different positions on the statute of the Caspian Sea. Iran believes that this unique water body is a joint property of littoral states–which means that its riches–including oil–should be a common asset.
On the other hand–Azerbaijan’s position is that each of the above littoral states should have its own sector of the Caspian–and each of them should be the owner of its resources with all ensuing consequences.
Judging by Baku press reports–this position is shared by Kazakhstan and partially by Turkmen’stan.