Reports of a halt in Iranian trucks entering Turkey were "completely fake and mischievous," Iran's Consul-General in Erzurum, eastern Turkey, said Thursday.
Sajjad Soltanzadeh, said he had been told by Turkish customs that trucks were moving both ways as usual between the two countries and that 400 Iranian trucks had entered Thursday.
Ozjan Alash (Özcan Alaş in Turkish), president of the Turkish Association for Development of Trade with Iran, told Russia's RIA Novosti Thursday that Ankara had stopped Iranian trucks in retaliation for Iran denying entry to Turkish trucks. “The trade turnover between Iran and Turkey has been completely suspended due to the tense situation on the border between Iran and Azerbaijan,” Alash said.
Alash expressed concern over any restrictions, given trade had already plummeted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. United States ‘maximum pressure’ sanctions introduced in 2018 slashed Iran-Turkey trade from around $10 billion to 5.6 billion in 2019. From January until the end of Julythis year it was $2.5 billion.
Turkey is a close ally of Azerbaijan and has supported it over rising tensions with Iran, which have centered on Tehran’s vehicular access to Armenia through territory occupied by Azerbaijan since last year’s Armenia-Azerbaijan war.Azerbaijan has arrested some Iranian truck drivers and introduced taxes for using the land corridor through which Iranian commerce reaches Armenia, Russia, and Europe.
Mostafa Ayati, former transit director general of the Iranian Customs Organization, told Eghtesad Online Wednesday that Iran should improve its maritime infrastructures in the Caspian Sea as way to Europe without using land routes through Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Turkey.
Ayati said that Iranian truck drivers travelling through Armenia had lately tried to enter Russia through Georgia, rather than Azerbaijan, but had found the border closed for refurbishment.
But Ruhollah Latifi, spokesman of Iranian Customs Organization, denied reports that Georgia had denied entry, saying traffic through Armenia and Azerbaijan to Georgia continued as usual.
An official of Iran-Georgia Chamber of commerce, Maryam Soltani, told the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) Thursday that she had confirmed with the Georgian embassy in Tehran its borders had not been closed to Iranian trucks. She stressed that Iranian drivers preferred the route through Azerbaijan due to the difficulty and extra cost of using the mountainous road through Armenia.
According to Azerbaijan's national carrier, Azal, Yerevan on 6 October opened its airspace to Azerbaijani planes going to its enclave, the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (NAR). This followed reports that Iran had closed its airspace to Azeri military traffic going to NAR.