Iran and Azerbaijan have agreed to build a transport corridor that links the Caucasian state to its exclave of Nakhchivan bypassing Armenia through the Iranian territory.
Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency said in a Saturday report that Tehran and Baku had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on building the 55-Kilometer Zangezur-Nakhchivan highway through Iran.
The MoU was signed between Azerbaijan’s Deputy Prime Minister Shahin Mustafayev and visiting Iranian transportation minister Rostam Qassemi.
However, details of the project published in the Azerbaijani media showed that the link connecting Zangezur in west Azerbaijan to Nakhchivan will be in the form of a corridor that runs just five kilometers from the border between Iran and Armenia and will include railways, roads and electricity transfer facilities.
Baku had been seeking to set up a similar corridor to Nakhchivan through the Armenian territory in return for granting access to Armenia to a corridor that connects the country to Karabakh region inside Azerbaijan.
The idea has been mooted periodically since the end of a war between Azerbaijan and Armenia in July 2020. However, it has been rejected by Armenia while getting a cold reception from Iran.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in a Saturday meeting with with Qassemi that the corridor between Zangezur and Nakhchivan through Iran will become a major transit route in the region.
Aliev’s foreign policy advisor Hikmat Hajiyev also described the signing of the MoU on the project as a historic event.
“Armenia’s policy of blockade of Nakhchivan over many years will be ceased thanks to the implementation of this project,” Hajiyev was quoted as saying by Azerbaijan’s official Azertac news agency.