The recent announcement that Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan will visit Baku in September is the latest indicator that a thaw in Azerbaijani-Iranian relations is underway.
The first signs of warming relations appeared in early April, when Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev visited Iran, where he met with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. While the details of that visit remain murky, a number of agreements were reportedly signed concerning economic and cultural affairs.
The visit marked a significant departure from the tensions that had characterized Azerbaijani-Iranian relations in recent years. Mutual rancour reached the point that officials in Baku publicly complained about Iranian meddling in Azerbaijan's internal religious affairs, while Tehran expressed concern about Azerbaijani strategic cooperation with Israel, the Islamic Republic's implacable foe.
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Eldar Mamedov is a political adviser to the Socialists & Democrats Group in the European Parliament. He writes in his personal capacity.