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Azerbaijan, Iran Break Ground on Cross-Border Highway Bridge

By Nigar Bayramli October 7, 2023


Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister Shahin Mustafayev and Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mehrdad Bazrpash attended the foundation-laying ceremony of a highway bridge, customs and border infrastructure on October 6, 2023, held in the Aghband settlement of Azerbaijan’s Zangilan District. / Report.Az

Azerbaijani and Iranian ministers attended the groundbreaking ceremony in Azerbaijan for a highway bridge and customs infrastructure on the border between the two countries.

The foundation of the road bridge and customs infrastructure was laid in accordance with the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two countries signed in March 2022, according to Report.

The MoU sought the creation of new routes between the East Zangezur economic region and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan through Iran, near Aghband settlement of Azerbaijan’s Zangilan district.

The new bridge will be built across the Araz River to connect Azerbaijan’s Zangilan District and Iran's East Azerbaijan Province.

Azerbaijan’s Deputy Prime Minister Shahin Mustafayev said at the ceremony that the road bridge and customs infrastructure will contribute to an increase in transit cargo transportation and will facilitate entry and exit to Nakhchivan.

In addition, restoration work was carried out on the banks of the Araz River, and the river was returned to its former course, according to him. At the same time, it is planned to create the customs checkpoint infrastructure.

Mustafayev said 1,100 cars, 30 buses, and 15,000 people would be able to cross the border on the Aghband Highway daily, adding that a railway bridge is also planned for the area.

The entire infrastructure will be implemented within a year.

Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development, Co-Chairman of the Commission from the Iranian side, Mehrdad Bazrpash is on a two-day visit to Azerbaijan to discuss the development of the joint cross-border infrastructure and further improvement of economic relations.

After the groundbreaking ceremony, he said: “The agreements reached after the meeting in Astara are being implemented. The cargo transportation volume will increase after the road and the bridge are built. This road will stretch to Julfa”.

Iran earlier opposed Azerbaijan’s plans to launch the Zangezur corridor, a transport link between mainland Azerbaijan and its Nakhchivan exclave via southern Armenia, on concerns that the corridor will sever its 40-km land border with Armenia.

The establishment of the corridor was agreed upon as part of the tripartite statement that ended the 2020 war between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Yerevan committed to ensuring the safety of transport links between the western regions of Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan to facilitate unrestricted movement of citizens, vehicles, and goods in both directions.

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said on September 29 that Baku is actively building a railway that will be a part of a major transport corridor running all the way from mainland Azerbaijan to its exclave Nakhchivan, and further to Iran, Türkiye and Europe.

He added that the construction of a railway from Horadiz in Azerbaijan's southern Fuzuli District to Zangilan was in an active phase and this part of the transport corridor would soon be complete.

Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on September 26 that the Zangezur corridor could pass through Iran, rather than Armenia.

In a meeting with Khalaf Khalafov, representative of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev on special assignments, held in Tehran on October 4, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Akbar Ahmadian reiterated Iran's opposition to any plan that could alter the region's geopolitics, particularly with regard to the Zangezur corridor.