Anzali, Iran (PortSEurope) December 27 – Iranian companies-exporters of fruits and vegetables want to supply products to Russia through the Caspian Sea, bypassing land route through the territory of Azerbaijan, according to Seyeda Reza Nurani, head of Iran’s Agricultural Union. The reason for the change of the route, according to Nurani, is the slow work of the customs of Azerbaijan, which leads to a deterioration
in the quality of products and additional costs. According to him, from 5-6 days, the delivery time for goods along this route has grown to 9-10 days. The new route would cut delivery times to 8-9 days. Nurani added that when the issues with Azerbaijani customs are resolved, exporters will again supply products along the old route. Nurani clarified that the export of vegetables and fruits from Iran to Russia will take place through three Caspian sea ports – Anzali, Amirabad and Astara. Earlier, he was quoted as saying that they route were not used due to a lack of refrigerated containers. Nurani also suggested other routes for the delivery of products to Russia, including via Armenia and Georgia. According to him, Iran’s government has a target of increasing the export of goods from the country by $45 billion in the next four years. The political background of the export route change EurasiaNet, a U.S. based independent news organization that covers news from and about the South Caucasus and Central Asia, provides the best background relevant to the decision of Iran to bypass Azerbaijan’s territory when exporting to Russia: Azerbaijan’s victory in the 2020 war against Armenia, achieved with Turkish and Israeli support and Russian acquiescence, convinced Baku that its military-diplomatic strategy was vindicated and that there is little reason to alter it. Iran, by contrast, was sidelined by the war. Its peace plans proposed during the fighting elicited little interest in Baku, and Tehran has been unhappy about post-war developments, particularly by its arch-foe Israel’s expansion of its foothold on Iran’s northern borders. With its newly consolidated alliances and fresh military confidence, Baku felt it could largely ignore its southern neighbor’s concerns. That explains the arrest in September of two Iranian truck drivers transiting Azerbaijani-controlled land en route to Armenian-controlled parts of Karabakh. While the incident could have been resolved through quiet backroom diplomacy between the two capitals, Baku chose to send a public message to Tehran that it won’t tolerate what it saw as encroachments on its sovereignty. That triggered unprecedented Iranian military exercises next to the Azerbaijani border. Copyright (C) PortSEurope. All Rights Reserved. 2021.
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