A Caspian Sea summit may have been what brought Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Baku recently, but it was Iran’s bilateral relations with Azerbaijan that commanded a greater share of attention. Although Ahmadinejad left Azerbaijan with little to show for his time, Azerbaijani analysts are interpreting the visit as a sign that Baku does not want to give open support to US and EU sanctions against Iran.
Officially, all was positive between the two countries during Ahmadinejad’s November 17-18 stay. During talks with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, held on the sidelines of the Caspian summit, the Iranian leader declared that “with my Azerbaijani brother [Aliyev] we discussed and have a similar view on all international problems.” Only Azerbaijan’s pro-government TV stations were allowed to cover the meeting.
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Shahin Abbasov is a freelance correspondent based in Baku. He is also a board member of the Open Society Foundation-Azerbaijan.