TEHRAN, March 5 (Xinhua) -- The Iranian president and his visiting Azeri counterpart hailed Sunday the growing trend of bilateral relations and the launch of railway links to boost regional economy.
The two countries signed two MoUs to expand cooperation on financial and transportation sectors, as Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev visited Iran's capital Tehran.
The two MoUs encompass fighting money laundry and criminal assets, and fostering railroad cooperation and expanding railroad links between the two neighbors, official IRNA news agency reported.
The documents were signed at the presence of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Azeri counterpart.
Concurrent with the visit of President Aliyev to Tehran, the railroad linking Iran's Astara port city to its namesake in Azerbaijan republic was launched.
Aliyev also discussed with Rouhani the implementation of the North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC).
He told reporters that the NSTC could have positive effects on the economies of its host countries following his meeting with Rouhani, according to Press TV.
Aliyev also underscored Baku's determination to invest the construction of a railway between the two Iranian northern cities of Rasht and Astara, which could help facilitate the expansion of economic relations between the two countries.
The NSTC is a multimodal route to link India and the Middle East to the Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe.
The ship, road and rail route connects India's Mumbai to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas and further to Baku in Azerbaijan as well as Russia's Astrakhan, Moscow and St. Petersburg before stretching to northern Europe and Scandinavia.
For his part, Rouhani hailed the implementation of transit route of NSTC passing through Iran and Azerbaijan, saying that it would link the Indian Ocean to European countries.
"The Republic of Azerbaijan is a gateway linking Iran with the Caucasus and Europe, and Iran, reciprocally, is a very good gateway linking the Republic of Azerbaijan to southern regions, the Sea of Oman and the Indian Ocean," Rouhani was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.
He urged more consultation between Iran and Azerbaijan to formulate a lasting legal regime for the Caspian Sea by building a consensus among the lake's five littoral states.
Rouhani unveiled plans for talks between Iran and Azerbaijan's oil ministers on close partnership to use the Caspian Sea's resources, according to Tasnim.
Rouhani welcomed Azerbaijan's participation in the construction of the Iranian cities of Rasht-Astara railway and said that Iran is prepared to cooperate with Azerbaijan in the swap of oil products.
On Sunday meeting, both presidents discussed environmental issues in the Caspian Sea and the fulfillment of agreements reached by the Caspian littoral countries on marine environment.
The Iranian and Azeri presidents also called for the implementation of a rich set of previous agreements between Tehran and Baku.
According to IRNA, they also stressed the importance of Iran-Azerbaijan-Russia, Iran-Azerbaijan-Turkey and Iran-Azerbaijan-Georgia trilateral cooperation formula.
Iran and Azerbaijan share immense cultural background and have been speeding up enhancement of their cooperation over the past years.
In Aliyev's last visit to Tehran in early 2016, the two countries signed 11 documents of agreement to promote mutual cooperation in diverse areas. In Rouhani's visit to Baku late 2016, the two countries also signed 7 more cooperation documents.
In the ongoing visit of Aliyev, a high-ranking political and economic delegation accompanies the Azeri president.