Iran, Armenia and Azerbaijan… The gas and trade conflict on the land of Nagorno-Karabakh
Introduction to translation
Georg Mnatskanyan, a journalist based in Yerevan, Armenia report It was published by “Eurasia Net”, in which it highlights the use of gas from Iran, Azerbaijan and Armenia to extend influence and control in the wake of the agreement to stop the fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan, as the latter claims that Iranian gas passes through it illegally to reach Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.
in mid-September, hold The Azerbaijani border guards two Iranian truck drivers on the road between the cities of “Goris” and “Kapan” in southern Armenia, then the accident escalated into a deep crisis between Baku and Tehran, which included military parade exercises وتبادل hostile letters Unprecedented among sides. in the end, banned Iran’s Transportation and Roads Agency travels its trucks to Nagorno-Karabakh. However, officials and businessmen (affiliated with Azerbaijan)* in Karabakh refuse to talk about trade with Iran.
This commotion, inadvertently, shed light on Iran’s energy exports to Nagorno-Karabakh (the region that was under Armenian control since the end of the 1994 war until the end of last year when Azerbaijan succeeded in regaining most of it, leaving a few areas under Armenian and Russian control). *. The two drivers were reportedly detained on charges of illegally crossing the Azeri border while delivering asphalt to Nagorno-Karabakh. (A trip is now taking place through the territories newly under the control of Azerbaijan, unlike the situation before the war of last year 2020)*.
Iranian supplies of fuel and other goods to the region (while under Armenian control)* have always been a thorn in the side of Baku, as it considers entry into the territory under the administration of Armenia as a breach of its borders. This isolated enclave receives all of its energy in the form of natural gas from neighboring Armenia. According to the Karabakh Ministry of Regional Administration and Infrastructure (which belongs to Armenia), the region imports 50 million cubic meters of gas annually for commercial, industrial and domestic uses through a single pipeline parallel to the “Lachin” corridor, the road between Armenia and Karabakh.
Russian peacekeepers are now securing the pipeline, parts of which have passed through Azerbaijan-controlled areas since part of the land was transferred to it as a result of the ceasefire agreement that ended last year’s war. In December 2020, one month after the end of the war, peacekeepers reported that they had helped restore more than 10 kilometers of pipeline near the (war-ravaged) village of Lisajore*, They also removed landmines from the area around the pipeline.
Most of the gas in the mentioned pipeline comes from Russia. Artur Karkhanyan, director of the Central Transportation Service of Gazprom Armenia (the Armenian branch of the Russian gas giant Gazprom)* told Eurasia Net that “Russia has a monopoly on 90% of gas supplies to Armenia, and the same is true of gas transported to Armenia.” Karabagh”. The rest of the gas supplies to Armenia come from Iran, amounting to 365 million square meters of the total 2.5 billion cubic meters imported in 2020, and it arrives through the 194-kilometre gas pipeline between Iran and Armenia. (Russia also owns Armenia’s share of the aforementioned gas pipeline). Armenia uses this gas to produce electricity, which in turn is transferred back to Iran, under the gas-for-electricity agreement concluded by the two countries in 2004.
However, private trade with Nagorno-Karabakh is another issue. Levon Gabrielian, Armenian Deputy Minister of Territory Administration and Infrastructure, told Eurasia Net that oil derivatives such as gasoline, diesel and asphalt used in road construction are imported by the Nagorno-Karabakh region through private companies in Armenia. Its products are transported by special trucks. Since the beginning of 2021 until now, the region has spent more than 7 billion AMD (15.5 million dollars) to import petroleum from Armenia, however, it is not clear how many of these quantities are Iranian-origin gasoline. In total, through Iran, Armenia met only less than a quarter of its needs of gasoline, diesel and the like in 2020, according to data published by the Armenian State Revenue Committee.
Artak Beglarian, Armenian Minister of State for Karabakh Province, said in a statement to interview He recently conducted it with the Russian news site “Regnam”, bragging that the new ban on Iranian trucks from entering Karabakh “does not mean that our trading companies cannot import Iranian-made goods.” The minister did not name those goods that these companies were bringing to the region. None of the companies dealing with Iranian oil in Karabakh agreed to answer our questions about the volume of trade the region receives, and the repercussions of recent developments on that trade. Similar to the position of private companies, a source working in the local police told Eurasia Net, who asked not to be named for security reasons, that they had not registered the entry of any Iranian oil tankers into the region.
The Azeris have the opposite story. In September, the Russian Ministry of Defense and a peacekeeping battalion stationed in Karabakh received 12 messages From the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense it bears a complaint about the “unlawful entry of organizations and individuals from other countries with their own vehicles” into the region, which it considered a “violation of the country’s laws.” The ministry also stated that this crossing violates the tripartite agreement signed with Russia and Armenia to stop the fighting in November 2020. For his part, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev mentioned in the to interview He conducted it with the Turkish Anadolu Agency, that in the space of one month from August to September, the Azeris spotted 60 Iranian trucks that “illegally entered Karabakh.”
For his part, “David Babayan”, the Armenian Foreign Minister of Karabakh to interview With the Armenian media, Azerbaijan’s attempts to cut off Iranian trade with Karabakh are motivated by Baku’s policy of “isolation and ethnic cleansing” and intimidation of the Armenian population of the region and prompting them to leave. Azerbaijan released the two Iranian drivers on October 21, citing “humanitarian principles, mutual respect and good neighborliness,” According to what was announced Azerbaijan State Customs Committee.
Meanwhile, Iran has pledged supported Armenia’s construction of a new road in the south of the country, passing through the cities of “Tatev” and “Kapan”. The new road will avoid crossing the area under the control of Azerbaijan, as the current road crosses the Armenian border to and fro in more than one place, and after the transfer of land after last year’s war, Azerbaijan regained control over some parts of this road (and therefore it is officially and actually illegal for it to be used in trade between Iran and Armenia, at least without the new fees that Baku will collect)*. This was installed by Azerbaijan Checkpoints On the road last August, I started to Border crossing fee collection on Iranian vehicles.
*Explanations of the translator
This article is translated from Eurasianet It does not necessarily represent the site of Medan.
Translation: Hadeer Abdel Azim.