Young Journalists Club | Latest news of Iran and world

News ID: 5345
Publish Date: 15:55 - 22 October 2014
Tehran, YJC. I recently took a trip to Azerbaijan with a group of journalists. Along with meeting some of the country’s officials and celebrities, I ran into a number of interesting things which are worth mentioning.

Some of the points are:

1. Upon our arrival into the Astara customhouse via land, a car from the embassy was waiting for us. The car’s license number started with 003, which indicated that it belonged to the Iranian embassy in Baku.

This kind of licensing foreign embassies’ cars follows some reasons. The plates are installed on the cars in the order in which the countries recognized the Republic of Azerbaijan as an independent state with establishing their embassy. Iran was the 3rd country, following Turkey and France, to recognize Azerbaijan.

2. On the entries into the country as well as inside the country bribery seems to be a common thing, which has infuriated many who frequent the way. Maybe only because of the embassy scheduling, our group did not run into that problem.

3. From the Astara border on to Baku, a large proportion of the road is a single carriageway and there is no highway, which makes the travel a bit difficult. The Astara-Baku highway is not operational yet.

4. As we move from Astara to Baku, the greenery diminishes. But the southern parts of the country, especially Masally province and Jalilabad district enjoy nicer landscape.

5. People from Azerbaijan and turkey call each other "ghardash” (meaning brother). Ankara-Baku relations are very good.

6. Iranians occupy a special place in Azerbaijan. An Iranian living in Azerbaijan said that they are there in all investments; and that one of third-top officials in every company in Azerbaijan is Iranian.

7. Iranian entrepreneurs own a big share of Azerbaijan’s economic and trade sections. The triple Flame Towers, for example, which are regarded as the symbol of Baku, were raised by Iranian named Abdulbari Gozall. Ahadpour is also a giant figure in the country’s economy and owns Az Group Holding. His Bently, seen frequently in one of the streets of Baku, attracts everyone.

8. Baku is the country’s trade, politics, and to some extent religious hub. Most of the country’s people are Shiite. But Shiites from the two sides of the border are a lot dissimilar in their attendance to some sharia rules such as hijab. A prominent Azerbaijani cleric has said that a lot of people in the country are yet unfamiliar with the right sharia rules.

9. People in the country have a strange attachment to Mashhad and Karbala, to Hajj and pilgrimage, and to ayatollahs Khamenei and Sistani.

10. The country’s media have had some progress and many of them claim to be non-governmental.

11. An old tradition with Azerbaijanis living in Iraq, a common feature of the people of Azerbaijan is to have or not to have a gold (golden) tooth. Many people here have gold-plated teeth. One citizen, though, said that many people use tooth plates of metals that look like gold but are not gold in fact.

12. People here have a similar taste to that of Iranians and their cuisine is much like the Iranian. Lime has a special place with the people. Beside every cup of tea, there are some slices of lime.

13. Baku is generally considered a safe city. Here you do not see things such as theft, fights, violence, or drunkenness.

14. The city is nevertheless growing rapidly.

15. Next June, the first round of the European Games, much like the Asian Games, is to be held in Baku and the government is busy building all sorts of stadiums for the event. According to estimations by the Azerbaijani government, 1000 athletes, accompanied by 10 people each, and 1 million spectators are to attend the sports event.

* Hossein Amiri

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