Azerbaijani media claim that Iran has closed airspace to flights to Nakhichevan
Iran’s deputy transportation minister is in Armenia to offer Iran’s financial and technical support for a transit road project that will allow trucks transporting cargo from Iran and other countries to bypass Azerbaijan on their way to Russia and Europe, Press-TV reported on Tuesday.
Kheirollah Khademi, who serves as CEO of the Construction and Development of Transportation Infrastructures Company, arrived in Yerevan on Monday and is heading a senior Iranian government and business delegation.
The delegation will visit construction sites for the Tatev project, a 400-kilometer transit road which links the Iranian border crossing of Nordooz to Yerevan.
Reports indicated that all but 15 kilometers of the road have been completed. The road will replace a current transit road between Iran and Russia through Armenia that extends for some 20 kilometers into the Azerbaijani territory.
Iran is upset by Azerbaijan’s recent decision to charge Iranian drivers some $130 for passing through the small section of the transit road on the Goris-Kapan Highway, on which Azerbaijani forces have set up check points. Azerbaijani authorities have also arrested two Iranian truck drivers on alleged charges of illegal entry into the Azerbaijani territory.
A report by the official IRNA news agency said that Iran had declared its readiness to contribute to the Tatev project to help finish the road as soon as possible.
“Soon the remaining part of the Tatev road located in the Armenian territory will be completed through Iran’s contribution,” said the report, adding that the transit road will enable trucks to travel safely and easily between China and Europe through Iran, Armenia and Russia.
The IRNA report said that the revived transit road will also facilitate Iran’s supply of fuel and crude products to Armenia.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian announced during a meeting Monday with his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan in Tehran that the two countries will soon revive the transit corridors.
The pro-Azerbaijani haqqin.az news agency claimed on Tuesday that Iran has notified Baku that it has closed its airspace to Azerbaijani military flights to Nakhichevan. Citing anonymous sources, haqqin.az added that Baku has viewed Tehran’s move as “another betrayal against Azerbaijan, instigated by the Armenian government.”
“Tehran’s political decision pushes Baku to reach unequivocal conclusions about the foreign policy guidelines of the Iranian government,” the unnamed source told haqqin.az.
The news site also claimed, that in response to the airspace closure, Azerbaijan has closed the office of the representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, which operates out of the Huseynova Mosque in Baku, citing an increase in Covid-19 cases.