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Azerbaijan, Iran Inaugurate Gas Pipeline

20 December 2005 -- Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his Iranian counterpart Mahmud Ahmadinejad today inaugurated a pipeline to deliver Iranian natural gas to Nakhichevan.

The two countries signed a 25-year swap deal in 2004 according to which Iran will eventually deliver 350 million cubic meters of natural gas to Azerbaijan's autonomous republic each year. In return, Azerbaijan will deliver 400 million cubic meters to Iran.

Ahead of the ceremony, the two leaders signed a memorandum on cooperation in the energy sphere, after which they pledged to boost bilateral relations.

Earlier in Tehran, Ahmadinejad said Iran and Azerbaijan were two friends enjoying deep-rooted ties.

Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki and Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh are accompanying the president in this trip.