YEREVAN, September 22. /ARKA/. The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is seriously concerned with the problems, which Iranian truck drivers have been facing after Azerbaijan has set up a checkpoint on a section of a strategic road that connects Iran with Armenia, Iranian Ambassador to Armenia Abbas Badakhshan Zokhuri said today at a meeting with the Secretary of Security Council of Armenia Armen Grigoryan.
According to reports from the area, Azerbaijani forces stop and reportedly tax Iranian commercial trucks passing through it. This was confirmed by Iranian truck drivers and the Armenian National Security Service.
The checkpoint is on a section of a strategic road that connects Armenia with Iran. Armenian forces had pulled out of that road section after the end of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh last autumn. Now Azerbaijani forces control a 21-kilometer stretch of the highway. The other sections of the highway, which is Armenia’s sole transport link with Iran are patrolled by Russian soldiers and border guards.
Grigoryan said that Armenia realizes that this is a very sensitive issue for Iranian partners and also attaches importance to its prompt solution. He said the Armenian government will build and repair roads bypassing areas along Armenia’s southeastern Syunik province which were handed to Azerbaijan as a result of the Russian-brokered ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone last autumn
Recently, Azerbaijanis detained two Iranian drivers at this section, accusing them of transporting goods to Nagorno-Karabakh. This provoked an angry reaction from Iran at the level of the Foreign Ministry, which demanded that Azerbaijan release the detained Iranians.
Zokhuri and Grigoryan also spoke today about transportation of cargo from India to the Black Sea, emphasizing the importance of the Iranian port of Chabahar, and also noted that Armenia is an important link on this route.
Grigoryan and Zokhuri, speaking about the importance of the Armenian-Iranian relations, stressed that the intensity of the meetings at the highest level testifies to effective interaction.
The Iranian ambassador noted that the cooperation between Armenia and Iran is a successful model that has undergone qualitative changes in recent years. -0-