The inauguration of the Astarachay Bridge between Azerbaijan and Iran is anticipated to have a significant impact on trade exchange between the two nations, as stated by Khairullah Khademi, the Director General of the Iranian Company for Construction and Development of Transport Infrastructure (CDTIC).
Khademi highlighted that the bridge, which commenced operations on December 30, is projected to amplify trade exchange by up to 2 million tons. He emphasized that augmenting trade exchange with Azerbaijan is a key objective of Iran’s Ministry of Roads and Urban Development.
“Establishing new communication routes with Azerbaijan can contribute to infrastructure development and substantially enhance economic activity,” Khademi remarked. He further noted that Astara serves as a crucial transportation route between the two countries, acting as Iran’s gateway to the Caucasus, European nations, and Russia.
The Astarachay Bridge, linking Astara in northwestern Iran to the city of the same name in the southeast of the Republic of Azerbaijan, was inaugurated in a ceremony attended by Iranian Roads Minister Mehrdad Bazrpash and Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan Shahin Mustafayev.
This border bridge, measuring 89 meters in length and 32 meters in width, completes a substantial portion of an international highway that connects Iran’s Rasht to the Azeri capital of Baku. Designed for cargo transportation, the bridge has a total length of 97.5 meters and a width of 4 meters. It comprises four traffic lanes and two pedestrian walkways, each spanning 2.5 meters in width.
Khademi expressed his positive outlook on the future of trade relations between the two nations. He highlighted the extensive negotiations that took place between the leaders of the Iran-Azerbaijan Joint Economic Cooperation Commission, to enhance transit capacity across their shared borders. He expressed hope that the recently inaugurated Astarachay Bridge will play a pivotal role in facilitating the exchange of goods and the movement of passengers.
The construction of the new bridge over the Astarachay River commenced on March 1, 2022, following its foundation being laid in January 2022. This development signifies a significant milestone in the ongoing endeavour to strengthen economic ties and enhance infrastructure between Iran and Azerbaijan.
The inauguration of the Astarachay Bridge and the rise in trade exchange between Azerbaijan and Iran are projected to yield considerable economic advantages for both nations. It is anticipated that the bridge will amplify trade exchange by up to 2 million tons, thereby fostering economic growth and development that will benefit both countries.
Furthermore, Iran predominantly exports Potatoes, Ethylene Polymers, and Unglazed Ceramics to Azerbaijan. The diversification of exports can contribute to stabilizing Iran’s economy and reducing its susceptibility to fluctuations in the global market. Additionally, the construction of the bridge represents a significant infrastructure development that has the potential to stimulate economic activity in the region.
The surge in trade and the opening of the bridge can also fortify the relations between Azerbaijan and Iran, paving the way for increased cooperation in various domains such as politics, culture, and society. Moreover, the bridge and the augmented trade can bolster Iran’s regional influence while enabling Azerbaijan to expand its foreign connections beyond Russia.
The Astarachay Bridge serves as a direct link between mainland Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan, an Azerbaijani exclave that is geographically separated from the rest of Azerbaijan by Armenia. This strategic connectivity holds significant geopolitical implications. The inauguration of the Astarachay Bridge and the surge in trade exchange are poised to deliver substantial economic and geopolitical benefits to both Azerbaijan and Iran. This serves as a testament to the potential advantages of regional cooperation and infrastructure development.