May 26, 2024, 9:59 AM

Development of 'Aras Corridor' between Iran, Azerbaijan

Development of 'Aras Corridor' between Iran, Azerbaijan

TEHRAN, May 25 (MNA) – Iran initiated a transit strategy encompassing several joint transport projects with Azerbaijan that including promoting bilateral relations will form a new transport link called the 'Aras Corridor'.

As part of trade and transit development with Azerbaijan to reach the target of 15 million tons transit by 2030 and also using diplomatic solutions within the framework of neighborhood policy to resolve tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia for stability and peace in the South Caucasus, the Islamic Republic of Iran initiated a transit strategy encompassing several joint transport projects with Azerbaijan that including promoting bilateral relations will form a new transport link called the 'Aras Corridor' connecting the East Zangezur economic region of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic through Iran's territory. 

As a transit route, the Aras Corridor's road and rail transit projects will be built with a length of 107 km and a credit amounting to 49,000 billion IRR.  Some parts of the implementation phase of the road section have been completed and other projects are still ongoing and expected to be implemented in 36 months. 

This project, which is located on the East-West Corridor, starts from Kalaleh in Jolfa city in the north of East Azerbaijan in Iran and is connected to the Republic of Azerbaijan with the construction of 21 bridges and 5 large bridges.

In this sense, among the most important Aras Corridor's rail and road projects is the construction of the 'Aghband road bridge' over the Aras River. The strategic project was formally kicked off in October 2023 during the visit of Iran's Minister of Roads and Urban Development, Mehrdad Bazrpash, as the head of the Iran-Azerbaijan Joint Economic Commission, to Azerbaijan with presence of Shahin Mustafayev. After 8 months, on May 18, 2024, this project was formally inaugurated by presence of Iran's late President and President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.

The length of the bridge is 220 m and the width is about 25 m. According to Bazrpash upon the operation, the number of vehicles that will pass through the border checkpoint will grow to 1,100 per day.  

Besides this road bridge, the MoU for building a railway bridge alongside road bridge was signed by Bazrpash and Mustafayev in October 2023. 

Simultaneous with the inauguration of the Aghband road bridge over the Aras, the Qiz Qalasi Dam was also inaugurated which is the largest joint water project between Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan.  

Including the construction of the Aghband Bridge, other joint projects are the Khoda Afarin Dam, 240 kilometers northeast of Tabriz city, and a new border terminal.

Additionally, the Astarachay border bridge at the Astara Border across the Astarachay River which was started in April 2022 was also opened in December 2023 with the presence of the heads of Iran, Azerbaijan Joint Economic Commission, Mehrdad Bazrpash and Shahin Mustafayev.

By this project, Iran and Azerbaijan opened the second transit bridge in Astara to facilitate freight transit by trucks. 

The bridge length is 89 m, width is 30.6 m, and sidewalk width is 2.5 m in 4 traffic lanes and is constructed with €5.8 million credit.

According to Shahin Mustafayev, in 2023 transport between Iran and Azerbaijan had 40 percent, international transit 57 percent, and rail transport 47 percent increase. 

In 2023, for the first time, more than 700,000 tons freights were transported by rail between the two countries, mainly to Russia.

Unfortunately, at the end of the last visit to the Aras Corridor's projects for the inauguration of the Aghband road bridge and the Qiz Qalasi Dam, Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi who was traveling to the site, died along with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, and 7 more officials in a helicopter crash in the mountainous area of Dizmar Forest in East Azerbaijan. 

In a meeting with Ayatollah Raisi, Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, stated that the joint transport projects between Iran and Azerbaijan are of particular importance to Azerbaijan and the whole region. The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is very important for the region, and with the development of railway infrastructure, this corridor will become the most vital transport route in the world. 


News ID 215686


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