TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani hailed the growing relations between Iran and Azerbaijan in various fields, economy in particular, and said the two countries can connect Asia and Africa to Northern Europe.

Speaking at a meeting with Azerbaijan’s Minister of Economic Development Shahin Mustafayev in Tehran on Tuesday, Rouhani stressed the necessity to encourage the public and private sectors of the two sides to develop cooperation and joint investments.

“Today, the two countries have good relations in different sectors such as industry, pharmacy, automobile manufacturing, agriculture and tourism…,” he said.

The president further pointed to the railway connecting Iran’s northern city of Rasht to Azerbaijan’s Astara and said the two countries can become “the highway” connecting Asia and Africa to Northern Europe in the future.

The Azeri minister, for his part, highlighted the determination of Tehran and Baku to deepen ties in all areas and said joint investments and the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries have dramatically increased in recent years.

Earlier on Tuesday, delegations from Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan held a new session of a joint commission on mutual cooperation in Tehran, finalizing 12 agreements that the two sides had drafted in the past.

The 12th meeting of Iran-Azerbaijan Intergovernmental Commission for Economic, Trade and Humanitarian Cooperation was co-chaired by Iranian Economy Minister Masoud Karbasian and Mustafayev.

Iran and Azerbaijan have accelerated efforts in recent years to forge closer partnership in various areas.

In February 2016, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev paid an official visit to Tehran, during which the two sides signed eleven memorandums of understanding and agreements to promote mutual cooperation in a range of fields.