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18:01/26 February 2021
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has rebutted the biased question of a journalist from Iranian Mehr News Agency, APA reports.
Iran's Mehr News Agency: Mr. President, terrorism is a threat to the world today. During the Karabakh war, there were reports of terrorist groups operating in the region. This is a great threat to the region. What collective efforts should be made here? What steps will be taken by the Republic of Azerbaijan in this regard? My other question is how to assess the Azerbaijani-Iranian cooperation. The two peoples are linked by historical and cultural ties, and how do you see the regional prospects of this cooperation?
President Ilham Aliyev: I want to clarify one issue. When you talk about the activities of terrorist groups during the war, what information do you refer to?
Journalist: News agencies from the countries of the region spread such information. Let me not mention them.
President Ilham Aliyev: You know, your question is in the form of an accusation. You can talk about any information, but the source must be mentioned. You say that the information was spread, mention the source of it. Mention the source of information about terrorist groups.
Journalist: In your opinion, what measures should be taken to prevent terrorist groups in the region?
President Ilham Aliyev: Which region or country are we talking about? You cannot specify a source. It is easy to accuse someone. You can ask it in the form of a question, but here the essence does not change. It's harder to stand behind what you say. What sources do you refer to? If you could mention the source in your question, I could give a more detailed answer.
Journalist: Then I would be glad if you answer my second question.
President Ilham Aliyev: I think you have answered your first question yourself. The information you provided in your question is not available. There is no information, evidence or proof of the involvement of terrorist groups during the war. This is a deliberately fabricated story, and I regret that a journalist from a friendly country asks such a question. Such accusatory questions usually come from other countries. No terrorists took part in the operation to liberate the lands. This victory was won by the Azerbaijani Army. There is no written or oral information or evidence. This is nothing but accusing Azerbaijan. This is understandable when done by Armenia. This is an excuse for the Armenians, because for them it is a psychologically painful issue - the Azerbaijani soldier defeated them. They may say that some terrorists did it. But has anyone seen these terrorists? Can you or your colleagues just give it a name? You have enough time, share this information with your colleagues. Is there such information? No. Therefore, my advice to you is not to speculate. As I said, you come from a friendly country as a lady, so I would not want to go into the depths of the subject. But please be more responsible for spreading such rumors.
As for the Azerbaijani-Iranian cooperation, this cooperation is at a very good level. The post-war period creates new opportunities. I know that Iranian companies are interested in participating in the reconstruction of the destroyed areas. A high-level delegation from Azerbaijan visited Iran. Important issues related to our cooperation, including the joint use of the Khudafarin water reservoir, were discussed here. We have already agreed with the Iranian side on the construction of power plants. A budget has already been allocated for the construction of Khudaferin and Maiden Tower power plants. The total production capacity will be 280 megawatts, which will be distributed between the two countries.
There are many opportunities due to the new situation. We have restored our state border with Iran, 132 kilometers of which was not under our control due to the occupation. Today, new opportunities are opening up for business. This includes transport and agriculture. Speaking about the transport sector, I would like to mention the Zangazur corridor. This corridor will also be useful for the Iranian side. Iran can use this corridor to establish a railway connection with Armenia. The two countries do not have such a connection at the moment, and I have heard that the construction of such a railway is no longer on the agenda. Because it is a very meaningless and expensive project. Iranian cargo can be transported to and from Armenia via Nakhchivan and Julfa. There are many opportunities, we will consider all of them, and I am confident that our close cooperation will continue in the future.
Journalist: Mr. President, I apologize, but I think my question about terrorist groups was misunderstood. I did not mean the activities of terrorist groups by Azerbaijan. I meant the activities of groups like ISIS in the region during the Karabakh war.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you for your clarification.