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EghtesadOnline: Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani says security in the Caspian Sea must be maintained only by its littoral states, criticizing any foreign intervention in this regard.

“The Caspian Sea must be the sea of peace and [used] for economic purposes and the interference of other countries in this region will cause trouble,” Larijani said in a meeting with Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister Lieutenant General Zakir Hasanov in Tehran on Monday.

According to PressTV, he commended positive interaction between Tehran and Baku in economic and tourism sectors and said, “I agree with your proposal on the establishment of a joint commission to increase military and defense cooperation.”

The top Iranian parliamentarian further said terrorism is the most important issue in the region, adding, “It is necessary that all regional countries and Muslim states stand against them (terrorists) with cooperation and unity.”

“Enemies of Islam are helping terrorist groups by boosting anti-Islam militants who seek to create phobia of Muslims in the world in the name of Islam and Islamic ideology,” Larijani said.

He emphasized that the Iranian Parliament supports further expansion of relations with Azerbaijan in all fields.

The Parliament speaker expressed hope that the dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region would be settled and the countries’ territorial integrity respected.

The Karabakh region, which is located in the Azerbaijan Republic but is populated by Armenians, has been under the control of local ethnic Armenian militia and the Armenian troops since the three-year war, which claimed over 30,000 lives and ended on May 12, 1994.

Last April, Azerbaijani and Armenian troops opened artillery fire against each other on a scale not seen since a separatist war concluded in 1994. According to reports, nearly 75 servicemen from both sides along with a number of civilians were killed in the skirmishes.

A Russian-mediated truce went into effect later that month, but sporadic clashes have continued since then.

Azerbaijan resolute on anti-terror fight: Hasanov

The Azeri defense minister, for his part, expressed his country’s firm determination to counter terrorist groups.

He added that the Azeri president has repeatedly announced that Islam and terrorism can never be put side by side.

Hasanov said he had held good talks with Iranian officials in Tehran and expressed hope that the two countries would manage to improve political, economic and military relations.

He also hoped that the conflict between his country and Armenia would be resolved.

Heading a high-ranking defense and military delegation, Hasanov arrived in Tehran on Saturday for an official visit at the invitation of Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan. The Iranian and Azeri defense chiefs held talks earlier on Sunday.

Also on Sunday, the Azeri defense minister met with Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani.

Ali Larijani Iran-Azerbaijan ties Zakir Hasanov Iran-Caspian states Caspian sea security