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Iran Bans Lorries from Entering Azerbaijan's Karabakh Region via Armenia

By Orkhan Jalilov October 22, 2021


Iranian authorities issue a notice warning against any illegal entry of trucks into the Azerbaijani territory. / MEHR News Agency

Iran’s Road Maintenance and Transportation Organisation has warned logistics companies against entering into Azerbaijan's Karabakh region illegally.

It warned that Iranian transit trucks traveling from Iran through Armenia should enter the Karabakh region, including the city of Lachin, only through the official border checkpoints established on the border by Azerbaijan.

“Any other form of entry into those territories from neighboring Armenia would be regarded as trespassing by Azerbaijan and could entail legal risks,” Mohammad Javad Hedayati, the director-general of Transit and International Transportation Affairs Bureau of Iran’s Road Maintenance and Transportation Organisation (IRMTO), said in a letter to the trade unions of international transport companies on October 20, according to the Iranian Mehr news agency.

In the letter, the IRMTO referred to a directive issued by Iran’s Foreign Ministry on October 1 which says any entry into Azerbaijan’s territory through the crossings that are not regarded as the official border checkpoint of that country is a violation of Azerbaijan territorial integrity.

The IRMTO also warned Iranian drivers against signing any trade agreements with residents of the Karabakh region, and the issuance of shipping documents to transport companies carrying goods to this region.

The Goris-Kapan road is a part of the main land route between Iran and Armenia. The 21-km Azerbaijani section of the road had been handed over to Azerbaijan, following the autumn 2020 Second Karabakh War.

On September 12, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry issued a statement saying that it had sent letters to the Russian Defense Ministry and the command of the peacekeeping force regarding the illegal entry of vehicles belonging to other countries into Azerbaijani territory where the Russian peacekeepers are temporarily deployed.

The ministry said that these cases were in violation of the Moscow-brokered statement that ended the 44-day war between Armenia and Azerbaijan in November 2020.

In early September, Azerbaijan began to collect fees from Iranian cargo lorries for using the Azerbaijani section of the road between the Armenian towns of Kapan and Goris. According to Azerbaijan's State Customs Committee, foreign vehicles entering or leaving the country must pay a road tax and an international transport fee.

On September 15, the Azerbaijani border guards detained two Iranian drivers for illegally crossing into Azerbaijan from Armenia. After this, Armenia's State Security Service temporarily closed the Goris-Kapan road for Iranian lorries. 

The Azerbaijani State Customs Committee announced on October 21 that the two lorry drivers were handed over to Iran "based on the principles of humanism, mutual respect and good-neighborly relations and showing goodwill”.