On Tuesday, December 23, Iran and Azerbaijan held talks on the details of a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between the two countries, reported IRNA.
During a video conference, the representatives of the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran and representatives of Azerbaijan’s ministries of Economy and Foreign Affairs “underlined the political will of their leaders to deepen bilateral economic relations.”
Earlier in the day, Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami stated that Iran is planning to reopen the railway to Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan Autonomous region.
The railway network of Iran’s northwestern city of Tabriz is a very convenient route to connect the European and North Caucasus railways, Eslami said, adding that according to a tripartite agreement between Iran, Russia, and Azerbaijan, the Nakhchivan railway line could soon be reopened for trade exchanges.
On Wednesday, December 24, Iranian Minister of Energy Reza Ardakanian announced that Iran and Azerbaijan have agreed to reactivate the building of two hydroelectric power plants on the Aras river border, telling journalists at a cabinet meeting in Tehran that, “We will proceed immediately to build the hydropower plants at the Khodaafarin dam.”
The Khodaafarin dam, located very close to Iran’s shared border with Armenia as well, has the potential to regulate 1.6 billion cubic meters of water throughout the year, irrigate up to 120,000 hectares of agricultural land, and feed “two hydropower plants with a total capacity of 280 MW of electricity,” said the minister.
Talking to reporters after a meeting with Azerbaijan Deputy Prime Minister Shahin Mostafayev on Tuesday, Head of Presidential Office Mahmoud Vaezi reiterated there is political resolve to promote Tehran-Baku ties, saying that the two countries’ border has always been the border of peace and friendship.
Vaezi also said that the two countries should “do their best to accelerate the implementation of joint projects such as the construction of railways, dams, and power plants in order to pave way for the expansion of interactions and relations”, emphasizing that Iran has always been interested in strengthening ties with Azerbaijan.