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Rouhani Says Shiite Countries In Region Moving Toward 'Strategic Relations'

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Baku. October 24, 2019

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, who visited Baku to participate in a meeting of “non-aligned” counties has said that Iran, Iraq and Azerbaijan as three “Shiite countries” are moving toward a “strategic relationship”.

Speaking before his departure for Baku at Tehran’s Mehrabad airport, Rouhani mentioned the multilateral agreement on the Caspian Sea, oil and gas production as well as transit of goods as possible areas for expanding relations with Azerbaijan.

Among the points mentioned by Rouhani, the Caspian Sea agreement which has reduced Iran's share of the Caspian resources, is a controversial issue in his country.

Iran is trying hard to establish closer ties with some regional countries as a way of overcoming its economic and diplomatic isolation amid tensions with the West and its Persian Gulf neighbors.

Iranian officials also try to show their domestic audience that the country is not in total isolation and has alternatives for trade, as it faces a nearly 10 percent economic contraction this year.

After arriving in Baku and meeting his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev, Rouhani called their bilateral relations “satisfactory” and said it can be expanded in cooperation with Russia.

Aliyev also mentioned a 70 percent increase in bilateral trade in the past one year.