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Vehicles ‘Escorted By Armenian Border Guards’ On Azeri-Controlled Road


An Azerbaijani checkpoint set up at on the main road conneting Armeia to Iran, September 14, 2021.

Armenian border guards have reportedly begun escorting Armenian vehicles driving along an Azerbaijani-controlled section of the main highway that connects Armenia to Iran.

The 21-kilometer section is part of contested border areas along Armenia’s Syunik province which were controversially handed over Azerbaijan following last year’s war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijani forces set up a checkpoint there on September 12 to check and tax Iranian commercial trucks transporting cargo to and from Armenia. The move caused serious disruptions in Armenian-Iranian trade operations.

Officials in Syunik have also accused masked Azerbaijani officers of bullying some Armenian drivers and their passengers at the same section of the road that also connects the Syunik towns of Goris and Kapan.

Two Armenian men were detained by Azerbaijani authorities in the area in unclear circumstances on Saturday. Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) said they “deviated” from the highway.

Both men were set free late on Sunday night as a result of what the NSS described as joint efforts of Armenian as well as Russian border guards deployed in Syunik.

“The Goris-Kapan highway is safe,” an NSS officer said on Monday, answering a call to the security agency’s hotline. “They [the travellers] are escorted right now. So no problems arise at that four-kilometer stretch.”

The security escorts began on Sunday morning, according to the NSS.

Two Iranian truck drivers were arrested at the Azerbaijani checkpoint last week for allegedly travelling to Nagorno-Karabakh without Baku’s permission. The Iranian Foreign Ministry called for their immediate release on Sunday.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi discussed the road crisis with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian at a meeting held in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe on Friday.

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