Iran, Azerbaijan changing regional transport architecture

TEHRAN, Mar. 13 (MNA) – On Friday, a historic event took place in Azerbaijani-Iranian relations without exaggeration.

A memorandum of understanding between Azerbaijan and Iran was signed in Baku on the creation of new communication links between the East Zangezur economic region of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic through the territory of Iran. The signing of this document was timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two states. According to the memorandum, this transport corridor, consisting of a railway line, a broadband highway, power transmission lines, digital communications, will be laid through the territory of Iran, about 5 km south of the Armenian-Iranian border. To achieve this large-scale goal, it is planned to build four bridges across the Aras River - two automobiles (with a pedestrian crossing) and two railways.

According to the memorandum, the parties undertake to build checkpoints on their territories capable of servicing at least 1,000 incoming and outgoing heavy vehicles transporting goods of an export, import and transit nature during the day.

All expenses for the preparation of project documentation, construction and control over the construction of a road bridge connecting the East Zangezur economic region with Iran will be paid by the Azerbaijani side. In turn, all expenses for the preparation of project documentation and the construction of a road bridge connecting Iran with the Ordubad region of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic are borne by the Iranian side. The parties agreed that a joint working group consisting of representatives of the relevant structures of both parties will be created for the design and construction of bridges.

The new transport corridor will actually duplicate the Zangezur corridor, the creation of which was envisaged on the territory of Armenia in accordance with paragraph 9 of the tripartite statement dated November 10, 2020, signed between the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. After the end of the Second Karabakh War, Azerbaijan took practical steps to implement the Zangezur transport corridor with the hope that it would be laid in the future also through the territory of Armenia - at the moment a new transport artery is being created in the liberated territories, which was supposed to be connected to the communications of Armenia.

It is important to note that the new transport corridor, the name of which has not yet been invented, is intended not only to connect Nakhchivan with the mainland of Azerbaijan, but also to become a branch of the North-South international transport corridor, which creates a good foundation for the future in terms of cooperation not only in the direction of North-South, but also in the direction of East-West. In this context, the launch of a new transport corridor will change both the transport and economic architecture of the region.

The signed memorandum of understanding is of great importance for our countries in terms of deepening trade and economic ties and using the unrealized potential in bilateral cooperation. The implementation of new infrastructure projects by our countries in the context of a significant aggravation of the international situation and the negative impact of the pandemic on the global economy is a vital necessity. Undoubtedly, the launch of the new corridor will contribute to further successful cooperation in various fields, in particular, in economic, trade, investment, transport and transit, industrial, agricultural and other areas. Despite the ongoing pandemic, mutual trade in 2021 increased by 30 percent, the volume of road transport between the two countries in 2021 increased by 70 percent. Thus, there are not only good opportunities for further expansion of trade and economic cooperation, but there is also a strong political will of our countries to deepen bilateral cooperation. The new transport corridor that will connect Azerbaijan with its enclave of Nakhchivan through the territory of Iran is the most obvious example of this.

Seymur Mammadov is the director of the international expert club EurAsiaAz and editor-in-chief of Azerbaijan news agency Baku Tribune.

News Code 184811

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