Armenian authorities have complained about Azerbaijani border guards searching and charging transport duties on Iranian cars passing through sections of Armenia’s Goris-Kapan road that are controlled by Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani authorities have said that the checks and fees are part of established protocol.
The Goris-Kapan road is the primary traffic artery in southern Armenia. The Soviet-era road skirts and occasionally crosses the internationally recognised border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Since the end of the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War, a roughly 20-kilometre section of the road has been under Azerbaijani control.
According to Civilnet, an independent media outlet based in Yerevan, Iranian drivers were told that they had to pay $130 to be allowed to drive through the road. Additionally, Azerbaijani troops reportedly erected banners on both sides of the road that read: ‘You are entering the territory of Azerbaijan’.
Azerbaijan’s State Customs Committee stated on Monday that the Iranian cars passing through the Goris-Kapan highway are subject to a ‘state duty for the issuance of a permit regulating international road transport in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan’.
Armenia’s National Security Service has since announced that they are currently in discussion with Russian border officials, who are stationed on that same stretch of road, to address the issue.
In recent months, Azerbaijani authorities have expressed consternation with Iranian cargo vehicles entering the sections of Nagorno-Karabakh overseen by Russian peacekeepers. In August, Azerbaijan sent an official ‘diplomatic note’ to Iran over the issue.
Additional reporting by Ismi Aghayev.