Iranian official dismisses 'tensions' at Astara customs, says activity with Azerbaijan soars
BAKU, Azerbaijan, Oct. 19
The volume of goods passed through the customs-border checkpoint in the Astara region of Gilan province in northern Iran has soared over the recent weeks, Director General of the Astara Customs Administration of Iran Karim Rasuli told Trend.
According to him, 200 trucks leave the country every day through the land section of the checkpoint.
On Oct 18, a number of media outlets circulated the words of Seyed Jalil Jalalifar, a member of the board of directors of the Joint Iranian-Russian Chamber of Commerce, that allegedly tense situation arose at the Astara customs on the Iranian side, and that the reason for this was the deliberate actions of Azerbaijan.
The official information of the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan released on Oct. 19 said that information about Azerbaijan's obstruction of Iran's export to Russia is unfounded and false. The State Customs Committee noted that it is unacceptable to blame Azerbaijan for the customs problems caused by the Iranian side and to politicize this issue.
"On October 15-16, for 10 hours, a failure was recorded in the computer system of some Iranian structures, which led to queues and delays in loading and unloading operations at fruit and vegetable warehouses in the Iranian city of Astara," the Committee said.
Meanwhile, Rasuli reaffirmed that in recent weeks, both exports and transit of goods through this border point have increased.
"The reason for this growth is the increased export of Iran in the second half of the year," Rasuli said. "From March 21 to September 22, 2021, the transit of goods through the Astara customs and border checkpoint increased by 300 percent compared to the same period of last year."
He stressed that the import of products through Astara customs has decreased, and this is normal since Iran intends to minimize the import of goods, with the exception of essential goods of strategic importance.
In addition, regular cargo transportation by rail and sea continues.
"Iran is implementing the signed agreements on the development of customs relations with neighboring countries. Three years ago, an agreement was signed between the Eurasian Economic Union and the CIS Advisory Council. According to this document, Iran uses the capabilities of the Eurasian Economic Union. Thus, the export of products to these countries and the import of products from these countries is carried out mainly through the Astara customs and border checkpoint. The implementation of measures under this document also led to an increase in the volume of exports through Astara customs," he said.