Apr 05, 2007

Southern Azerbaijan: Reports of Border Closings

Reports indicate check-points along the Azerbaijani-Iranian border were closed this week, forcing residents along the border to obtain border crossing permits.

Below is an article published by Regnum News Agency:

On April 3, a customs check-point on the Azerbaijani-Iranian border was closed, Zerkalo newspaper (Azerbaijan) reports, saying that hundreds of Azerbaijani and Iranian citizens in Astar and Lerik (Azerbaijani towns in the Iranian border — REGNUM); the people are waiting for a permit to cross the border, however, it is unknown now when the permit will be received.

“At that, the situation on the Iranian-Azerbaijani border becomes more and more tense every hour and threatens to develop into mass protest actions that can take very different shape. The attitude of the people in southern districts is close to panic,” Zerkalo reports.

However, as Trend news agency reports, the Iranian embassy in Baku denied such information saying that “the borders are open and there are no problems there.” At the same time, the agency reports that according to residents of southern Azerbaijan, within last four days the border between Iranian and Azerbaijani towns of Bilyasuvar and Astara remained closed, and the Iranian frontier guards promised to close it by the end of April 4. It can be crossed only with permits of eased border crossing, which only those living in 40 km from the border have.