The project worth 18.5 million euros ($20.3 million) is financed by the European Union and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The Armenian government secured the funding three years ago.
The project’s implementation appears to have been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic and the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh. The government called an international tender for that purpose only in December 2021.
Iran’s Tana Energy Management Company was recently declared the winner of the tender. It signed a relevant contract with Armenia’s State Revenue Committee (SRC) on Friday.
“Construction work will be completed in 2026, as a result of which it is planned to have a modern checkpoint,” read an SRC statement issued after the signing ceremony in Yerevan.
The statement said that the head of the SRC, Rustam Badasian, thanked the EU and the EBRD for helping Yerevan upgrade the Armenian-Iranian border facilities located near the southeastern town of Meghri.
The Meghri checkpoint processes up to one-third of goods shipped to and from landlocked Armenia.
Also, Iran is a major trading partner of the South Caucasus state. According to Armenian government data, Armenian-Iranian trade soared by 44 percent, to $638.4 million, in January-November 2022.
Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi hailed the growing bilateral trade when he met with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian in Tehran last November. Raisi said the governments of the two neighboring states want to help increase it to $3 billion in the near future.
Tehran is anxious to cement its traditionally cordial ties with Yerevan in the face of geopolitical changes in the region resulting from the 2020 Armenian-Azerbaijani war. It is worried about Azerbaijani demands for a land corridor that would connect Azerbaijan to its Nakhichevan exclave through Syunik, the sole Armenian region bordering the Islamic Republic.
Iranian leaders have repeatedly warned Baku against attempting to strip Iran of the common border and transport links with Armenia.