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Poll: Is the U.S. going to invade Iran

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#161 Yervant1

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Posted 29 October 2021 - 08:13 AM

Jamestown Foundation
Oct 27 2021
 
 
 
Tensions in Tehran-Baku Relations: Iran’s New Transit Routes in Armenia and the Caspian Sea Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 18 Issue: 163 By: Vali Kaleji

October 27, 2021 07:32 PM Age: 18 hours


Although many observers assumed that the recent uptick in tensions between Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan (see EDM, October 6) would die down following the telephone calls between Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and his Azerbaijani counterpart, Jeyhun Bayramov (Al Jazeera, October 13), subsequent public remarks by the latter country’s President Ilham Aliyev again incensed Tehran. In his comments at an October 15 session of the Council of Heads of State of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Aliyev mentioned that Azerbaijan “has blocked a drug trafficking route from Iran through [the] Jabrayil district of Azerbaijan to Armenia and further to Europe” (Azernews, October 15). In reaction to this statement, Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani said that, “Ignoring the principles and requirements of the neighborhood and making false and unconstructive statements is not a sign of good faith and prudence” (Mehrnews, October 15). Weeks earlier, responding to an interview the Azerbaijani president gave to the Turkish outlet Anadolu Agency, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Saeed Khatibzadeh, declared, “Aliyev’s remarks are surprising because they come at a time when Tehran and Baku have good relations based on mutual respect and there are normal channels through which the two sides can talk at the highest level” (Anadolu Agency, September 28).

The recent antagonism between Tehran and Baku has had several consequences, including, notably, pushing Iran to seek out alternative transit routes to reach Armenia (and Georgia) as well as Russia. The catalyst was the Azerbaijani government’s decision to place restrictions on Iranian trucks traveling via the Goris–Kapan highway—a key segment of the main land route that links southern and northern Armenia and is part of a 400-kilometer road network stretching from Norduz, Iran, to the Armenian capital. Much of this highway straddles a disputed section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border (see EDM, May 18June 21) or turns deeply into Azerbaijani territory outright. Following the Second Karabakh War (September 27–November 9, 2020), roughly 21 km of that Soviet-era road in Armenia’s Syunik region, has been under Azerbaijani control.

png25eEpI2dDy.pngDisputed area of Azerbaijan and Armenia on the Goris-Kapan road. Red: Armenia. Blue: Azerbaijan. White Lines: Lachin Corridor. Purple: Karabakh under Russian peacekeeping force. (Source: Ana-Press)

Since early 2021, Azerbaijan has been setting up border guard posts and erecting signs reading “Welcome to Azerbaijan” on its sections of the highway and, on August 25, blockaded a section of it for nearly 48 hours. The situation was resolved with the help of Russian border guards, who patrol the Armenian side of the border (EurasiaNet, September 7). After these developments, Azerbaijan’s State Customs Committee stated that Iranian vehicles traveling along the Goris–Kapan highway are subject to a “state duty [$130] for the issuance of a permit regulating international road transport in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan” (Customs.gov.az, September 13). Iranian truck drivers protested, saying that their destination was Armenia and not the Republic of Azerbaijan; moreover, they already have to pay a toll at the Norduz-Moghari Border Gate, on the border between Iran and Armenia, so they should not need to pay again. The vehement opposition and resistance of some Iranian drivers led to two arrests by Azerbaijani forces, further straining relations between Tehran and Baku.

pngoPcFCZktWR.pngGoris-Kapan highway (Source: topcor.ru)

In response, the Iranian government decided to define alternative routes to prevent the disruption of Iranian transit and trade with Armenia, Georgia, Russia and the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). The first alternative land corridor is the Tatev–Aghvani route, which entirely bypasses Azerbaijani territory. Iran has announced it would complete the unfinished portion of this road inside Armenia. And a technical delegation led by the head of Iran’s Construction and Development of Transport Infrastructures Company, Deputy Minister Kheirollah Khademi, visited Armenia to discuss completion of the Tatev–Aghvani route. Moreover, Iran has offered financial and technical support to Armenia, which plans to build a 550 km North–South Road Corridor that will traverse the entire country, beginning at the Iranian-Armenian border, but, critically, not cross into Azerbaijani territory (Fars News, October 4). Of course, it should be noted that the Tatev–Aghvani road was used prior to the recent developments along the Goris–Kapan highway. However, the Tatev–Aghvani route is notorious for its steep slopes and narrow passes that trucks have a difficult time traversing, particularly in rainy and snowy conditions. As such, the governments of Iran and Armenia hope to wholly reconstruct and improve the safety of this highway, specifically with truck transit in mind.

pngtaTpM6aKZn.pngNorth-South Road Corridor in Armenia (Source: upgyumri.org)

Iran’s second reaction to the Azerbaijani restrictions placed on the Goris–Kapan highway was to strengthen the Caspian Sea as a maritime alternative to the north-south land route across Azerbaijan to Russia. Thus, the director general of the Gilan Ports and Maritime Organization, Hamidreza Abaei, noted, “The destination of [Iranian] trucks carrying export goods is mainly Russia; a small number of trucks have Armenia and Azerbaijan as their final destinations. Given the problems created by Azerbaijan for Iranian trucks, the best-case scenario would be that all Iranian trucks reach Russia or Armenia directly by sea” (Eghtesad Online, October 6). To achieve this, Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) on cooperation in launching Caspian Sea shipping lines from Iran to Russia and Kazakhstan. Accordingly, in the first phase, six lines will be launched from the northern ports of Iran to the ports of Astrakhan and Makhachkala in Russia, as well as the port of Aktau in Kazakhstan as of October 23. In the second phase, by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (late March 2022), the number of these lines will increase to eight (Port News, October 15).

If the land corridor is important for Iran’s trade and transit with Armenia and Georgia, the maritime route is crucial for Iran’s transit and trade with Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union. In particular, negotiations are underway to convert the Iran-EEU Preferential Trade Agreement into a free trade agreement, which is expected to take effect in November 2022. Tehran is worried that its ability to increase the volume of trade with the EEU, especially Russia, will be hampered by restrictions on the land transit routes across the Caucasus.

The outcome of the Second Karabakh War inadvertently brought to the fore old and new tensions and disputes between Iran and Azerbaijan. If these remain unresolved, they threaten to derail ongoing planning and development on multiple strategic, trans-border transit projects, including the North-South International Transit Corridor (Iran-Azerbaijan-Russia) as well as the completion of the Rasht–Astara railroad—the sole remaining rail piece of this corridor. In contrast, progress on the Tatev–Aghvani road promises to strengthen bilateral relations between Iran and Armenia, which were somewhat damaged during the Second Karabakh War, as well as facilitate the development of the Persian Gulf–Black Sea Transit Corridor via Armenia and Georgia.

Dr. Vali Kaleji is an expert on Central Asia and Caucasian Studies in Tehran, Iran. 
 


#162 Yervant1

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Posted 29 October 2021 - 08:27 AM

Iran Front Page
Oct 28 2021
 
 
 
Armenian denies withdrawing from border region
October 28, 2021
14000708000528_Test_PhotoN-1-696x350.jpg

Armenia’s prime minister denies media reports that the country has withdrawn forces from Syunik a province bordering Iran. Nikol Pashinian was responding to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s claim about the so-called Zangezur corridor before parliament.

Pashinian said there has been no change in the posture of the Armenian troops in Syunik province.

He added, “Our border guards have been serving in the posts since December 2020”. The denial from Pashnian comes after repeated claims by Azerbaijani officials about the Zangezur corridor near the Iranian border.

Aliyev has threatened to capture the corridor by force and in violation of the UN Charter. Azeri officials stand accused of causing tension over “Zangezur” through resorting to propaganda after the country signed a truce with Armenian in November 2020, ending their 44-day bloody war.

They claim that during the ceasefire talks, Azerbaijan Republic and Armenia agreed on carving out a swath of land linking Nakhjavan to Azerbaijan.

This is while the 9-point agreement does not make any reference to the issue. Only Article 9 says Armenia has agreed to open closed routes for transportation between Azerbaijan’s west and Nakhjavan.

The wording does not say anything about the creation of a corridor which would eliminate the border and deprive Iran of access to Armenia’s transit route.

Obviously, Baku is making an effort to insinuate its own narrative and interpretation of Article 9 of the truce deal through resorting to propaganda.



#163 Yervant1

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Posted 01 November 2021 - 07:34 AM

Tehran Times, Iran
Oct 31 2021
 
 
 
Armenian president hails ties with Iran
October 31, 2021 - 21:36
 
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TEHRAN — Emphasizing that his country's relations with Iran as a neighbor have always been good, the Armenian president has said what happened during the war in southern Armenia in 2020 was directly related to Iran.

"Iran is our neighbor. What happened during the war in southern Armenia is directly related to Iran. This section is on the border with Iran, it would be surprising if Iran did not say anything about it in general," Armen Sarkissian told Russia's RBK television, ISNA reported on Saturday.

The Republic of Azerbaijan and Armenia fought over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding territories. Fighting began on September 27, 2020, and lasted for more than 40 days. 

Regarding the reasons behind Armenia's good relations with Iran in comparison to a year ago, Sarkissian noted: "First of all, I do not agree with you. Iran-Armenia relations have always been good. Unlike Turkey, the Iranian government has provided financial support for the preservation of Armenian cultural and religious centers."

On the view that relations have become closer after the war, the Armenian president answered, "Iran is our neighbor. What happened during the war in southern Armenia is directly related to Iran. This section is on the border with Iran, it would be surprising if Iran did not say anything about it in general."

With regard to Iran's concerns in the face of Turkey's measures, Sarkissian highlighted that Iran had the right to be worried about many things, so it was their right to express their views and the neighbors must listen to it.

“Iran-Armenia relations have always been good.”

"God willing, other players in the region will hear the same views. The point is that after the war, many began to say that during the war it was very difficult to get international support from various organizations and governments that actively supported the idea of ending the war."

Of course, there were countries that were very friendly, like France, which was worried about the war, the Armenian president stated. 

But, he said, other European countries were not active and “now after the war, everyone has started talking actively.”

Though Iran said the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan should be respected by Armenia, the Baku government has adopted an unfriendly approach toward Iran and made accusations against Iran and Yerevan. 

Contrary to the Caspian Sea legal regime, Azerbaijan also invited Turkey and Pakistan for a joint maneuver in the sea.
  
Azeri President Ilham Aliyev went too far in his anti-Iran rhetoric. On October 15, he claimed that Iran and Armenia have been using the Nagarno-Karabakh territory for years to smuggle drugs to Europe."

“After restoring its 130-kilometer border with Iran, which was under Armenian control for 30 years, Azerbaijan stopped the illegal trafficking of narcotics from Iran to Armenia and on to Europe through Azerbaijan’s Jebrail district,” Aliyev claimed during a virtual summit of the former Soviet republics.

At the same virtual meeting, Armenian Prime Minister Nicole Pashinyan rejected the allegations. “I want to point out that we have been very closely cooperating with Iran’s law-enforcement bodies and very productively fighting against drug trafficking,” said Pashinian.

Shortly after Aliyev's remarks, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the allegations by the Azeri president are “astonishing”.

The Armenian prosecutor's office has issued a statement on the joint Iranian-Armenian fight against drug trafficking, saying the allegations by Aliyev were "baseless".

The prosecutor’s office stated that in 2020, thirteen criminal cases were filed against drug trafficking on the Iranian-Armenian border and 14 people were charged. The statement also said that in the first nine months of 2021, 12 cases were investigated and 24 people were charged.

At the end of the statement, the prosecutor's office said: "All this information confirms that the accusations made by the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, have nothing to do with reality and are fabricated. These allegations, which lack real data and are intended to discredit Iran and Armenia, have been doomed to failure from the outset. These accusations are to hide the fact that Azerbaijan itself is a transit country for drug trafficking."

On October 19, the Iranian director of headquarters for the fight against narcotics, Eskandar Momeni, urged Azerbaijani officials to respect the public opinion and to see the position of Iran in the fight against narcotics trafficking.

“Despite the cruel sanctions, our efforts to combat drug trafficking have intensified and we call on other countries to cooperate in this regard,” he emphasized.

Aliyev failed to produce any proof of his allegations that Iran is helping Armenia to smuggle drugs to Europe. 

Iran is the leading country in the fight against narcotics worldwide. 

According to the UN Office, the Islamic Republic's continuous efforts to combat narcotics trafficking came up with the seizure of more than 90 percent of opium, 70 percent of morphine, and 20 percent of world heroin.

Despite the conditions caused by the coronavirus outbreak and the imposition of harsh sanctions against the country, with the efforts of anti-narcotics police in 2020, drug detection increased by 41 percent.

Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, about 3,800 Iranian security forces have been martyred and about 12,000 wounded or disabled in the fight against drug trafficking.

The UNODC has praised Iran’s efforts to fight against narcotics trafficking on the occasion of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

The organization also officially announced that the world’s first place in the discovery of opium, heroin, and morphine belongs to Iran.

According to UNODC, Iran remains one of the major transit routes for drug trafficking from Afghanistan to European countries and has had a leading role at the global level in drug-control campaigns.

UNODC World Drug Report 2020 estimates that in 2018, 91 percent of world opium, 48 percent of the world morphine, and 26 percent of the world heroin were seized by Iran.

 

https://www.tehranti...-ties-with-Iran



#164 Yervant1

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Posted 02 November 2021 - 07:14 AM

Press TV, Iran
Nov 1 2021
 
 
Iran starts free trade talks with EAEU in Armenia
Monday, 01 November 2021 6:38 PM  [ Last Update: Monday, 01 November 2021 6:38 PM ]
 
1f263ed5-defe-4600-a753-16d5e3740af4.jpg
An Iranian trade delegation starts talks with the EAEU in Yerevan to reach a deal on free trade.

Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) have started three-day talks in the Armenian capital to discuss a potential free trade deal between the two sides, the official IRNA news agency has reported.

The Monday report said that a delegation led by officials from the Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) of Iran had started talks with EAEU representatives in Yerevan to see how the two sides can go beyond a preferential trade agreement that was signed two years ago.

It said all five members of the EAEU, namely Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus, are represented in the talks with the Iranian delegation which includes officials from the Iranian government and high-profile figures from the country’s private sector.

TPO’s head of international and trade contracts affairs Mir Hadi Seyyedi said that Iran and the EAEU had previously held seven rounds of virtual meetings to discuss the potential free trade deal.

“It is expected that an agreement can be reached in Yerevan meeting on many unresolved issues,” said Seyyedi, adding that the two sides will meet again in Tehran on December 6 to discuss tariff issues.

He said that the two sides have reached an initial agreement to extend free trade arrangements to 80 percent of goods covered in the preferential trade deal signed in November 2019.

Figures published by the Iranian customs administration (IRICA) in July showed that trade with the EAEU had accounted for some 4.6% of Iran’s total trade in the year to late March.

Trade with Russia, which reached nearly $2.61 billion in value terms, had accounted for 77% of Iran’s exchanges with the economic bloc over the same period, according to the same IRICA figures.

https://www.presstv....talks-EAEU-bloc



#165 Yervant1

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Posted 02 November 2021 - 07:21 AM

Armenpress.com
 

Armenian, Iranian General Prosecutors reach agreement on jointly withstanding new challenges

 
 
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1067033.jpg 21:44, 1 November, 2021

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 1, ARMENPRESS. The Prosecutors General of Armenia and Iran, recording the achievements, have reached agreements to jointly withstand new challenges, ARMENPRESS reports the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Armenia Arthur Davtyan said in an interview with the Public TV, referring to the recent visit of the Prosecutor General of Iran Mohammad Jafar Montazeri to Armenia.

“Among these agreements, I attach great importance to the joint will to clear the region from terrorists, to the need to fully implement the legal mechanisms, about which he, my Iranian counterpart, spoke very clearly. Back in the first days of the war, when we already received the first factual information about the presence of mercenary terrorists in the region, especially in the southern part of Artsakh, taking into account also our partnering relations, I informed my colleague about it, because it was the border area with Iran. There were reasonable doubts and risks that the terrorists recognized no borders, there could be any movement. This was appreciated by my colleague, and the necessary preventive measures were taken. Today, they also have clear facts about the activities of terrorists in the region and the area I mentioned, and their existence today, and the need to fight against this evil through joint legal mechanisms was recorded”, Davtyan said.

 

 

https://armenpress.a...MpJ3xDbK_7FYl-E



#166 Yervant1

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Posted 07 November 2021 - 07:40 AM

Tehran Times
Nov 6 2021
 
 
3+3 format on Karabakh: The best way forward
November 6, 2021 - 21:37
 
3947816.jpg

TEHRAN – With tensions in the South Caucasus subsiding by the day, diplomatic contacts between the countries of the region take on a renewed importance in terms of avoiding misunderstanding.

Over the past few days, several meetings and phone conversations were held between officials and diplomats from the Republic of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, and Iran, marking a remarkable rise in diplomatic interactions involving the key stakeholders of the South Caucasus region.

Of all the statements resulting from these interactions, remarks by Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Alexei Overchuk during his visit to Armenia stood out as the most important development in the region.

Overchuk met with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and discussed a number of issues, particularly the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. 

It seems that the most important issue discussed by Overchuk and Pashinyan was the opening of transit links in the region, especially those connecting Azerbaijan with the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic.

During the meeting, Pashinyan complained that “Azerbaijan is trying to impose its perceptions on the commission” tasked with following up on the statements of November 9 and January 11, which refer to the unblocking of all transport and economic ties in the region.

“Armenia should get road and railway communication routes through Azerbaijan; Azerbaijan should receive railway and road communication routes through Armenia, including one connecting Azerbaijan to the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic,” Pashinyan told Overchuk, according to ARMENPRESS.

The Russian official, in turn, pointed to the transport links in the region and said that Azerbaijan and Armenia, together with Russia, have reached a “very good understanding” of the links. 
 
Overchuk then uttered something for the first time in public: the links would be under the jurisdiction of countries using them. 

“The roads remain under the jurisdiction of the countries through which they pass,” he said. 

This has once again raised alarm bells in Tehran which has repeatedly warned that it accepts no change in the international borders in the Caucasus region.

The Russian official did not openly say that the transit links between Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan would be under the jurisdiction of Baku. But it goes without saying that Azerbaijan would be the first country to use them. So, did Overchuk mean that Armenia would give away its border with Iran? There is no clear answer yet. 

And this ambiguity is another reason for Russia, as the lead mediator in the region, to work closely with all countries involved in the Caucasus region, including Iran, which shares borders with both Azerbaijan and Armenia and is concerned that changes in Armenia’s southern border would come at an irreversible geopolitical cost for it. 

This may explain Iran’s quick diplomatic moves on Saturday to get support from the region’s stakeholders for reviving a regional platform called 3+3 format that includes Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia and their three big neighbors- Russia, Turkey, and Iran. 

The format was proposed by Russia in early October but has since been shelved. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian expressed support for the format during his Saturday phone conversations with his Russian and Azerbaijani counterparts.  

During conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Amir Abdollahian said, “Iran supports regional talks in the format of 3+3 or other formats upon which all sides agree in order to resolve the disputes in the region and to expand regional cooperation.”

He reiterated this message in the conversation with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, underlining that “Iran supports regional talks in the format of 3+3 or other formats and believes regional problems can be resolved using regional mechanisms.”

But despite the Iranian insistence, differences between Azerbaijan and Armenia are being addressed in a trilateral format rather than the 3+3 one. And the trilateral formant seems to have not ensured the interests of all the stakeholders. 

Overchuk said he held 8 meetings with his Azerbaijani and Armenian counterparts, with the last meeting being held on October 22. “Based on these data, after the 8th session of the joint working group held on October 22, it seems to us that we will reach concrete solutions,” he said. 

And these solutions have apparently resulted in giving Azerbaijan full control over Iran-Armenia borders. 

 

https://www.tehranti...est-way-forward

 



#167 Yervant1

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Posted 07 November 2021 - 07:43 AM

Public Radio of Armenia
Nov 6 2021
 
 
Sovereignty and territorial integrity will be respected: Russia comments on so-called “Zangezur Corridor”
November 6, 2021, 13:11
 1 minute read
 

Unblocking of regional transport routes will open up additional perspectives for Armenia and Russia in the realization of the “North-South” project, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement ahead of the anniversary of the trilateral statement signed by leaders of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan on November 9, 2020, TASS reports.

The Ministry reminded that as a result of eight sessions of the working group under the co-chairmanship of the Deputy Prime Ministers of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, a report was presented describing specific rail and road routes to restore communication between Armenia and Azerbaijan with access to transport communications of neighboring countries, which, it said, will increase transit attractiveness of the region and will attract additional investment.

“It is important, especially in light of the media reports on the situation around the so-called ‘Zangezur corridor,’ that all participants of the trilateral working group have agreed that all unblocked and newly created transport routes will operate on the basis of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the states through which they pass,” the Ministry stated.

 

https://en.armradio....gezur-corridor/



#168 Yervant1

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Posted 20 November 2021 - 10:23 AM

EurasiaNet.org
Nov 19 2021
 
 
Perspectives | Iran-Azerbaijan: A new cold war? The short-term crisis between the two neighbors has dissipated. But in the longer term, relations have gotten a lot more complicated. Eldar Mamedov Nov 19, 2021
038.jpeg?itok=h7a1z0EJThe Khodaafarin Bridge on the Azerbaijan-Iran border. (president.az)

As tensions subsided following weeks of saber-rattling and hostile rhetoric, the foreign ministers of Iran and Azerbaijan had a November 5 phone call in which they blamed “ill-wishers” for trying to exploit “recent misunderstandings between the two neighbors,” as the Iranian readout put it.

But the short-term rapprochement and blame-shifting only serves to obscure larger shifts in the relationship: While the war games and insults have abated, diverging geopolitical choices continue to pull Baku and Tehran in opposite directions, augmenting the risks of periodic eruptions in the future.

Azerbaijan’s victory in the 2020 war against Armenia, achieved with Turkish and Israeli support and Russian acquiescence, convinced Baku that its military-diplomatic strategy was vindicated and that there is little reason to alter it. Iran, by contrast, was sidelined by the war: Its peace plans proposed during the fighting elicited little interest in Baku, and Tehran has been unhappy about post-war developments, particularly by its arch-foe Israel’s expansion of its foothold on Iran’s northern borders.

With its newly consolidated alliances and fresh military confidence, Baku felt it could largely ignore its southern neighbor’s concerns. That explains the arrest in September of two Iranian truck drivers transiting Azerbaijani-controlled land en route to Armenian-controlled parts of Karabakh. While the incident could have been resolved through quiet backroom diplomacy between the two capitals, Baku chose to send a public message to Tehran that it won’t tolerate what it saw as encroachments on its sovereignty. That triggered unprecedented Iranian military exercises next to the Azerbaijani border.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev tried to put on a brave face but couldn’t hide his surprise and unease about Tehran’s escalations. While pro-government websites responded to the crisis by extolling the might of Azerbaijan’s armed forces, military confrontation with Iran – a country with eight times the population – clearly is not in Baku’s interests. All the more so because even Baku’s main ally, Turkey, is unlikely to fight a war with Iran on Azerbaijan’s behalf.

In recent years relations between Turkey and Iran have been on a downward spiral in several areas. The South Caucasus is one of them, as Tehran resents Ankara’s expanding reach there, most of all its rising influence in Baku. Both sides, however, have been mindful not to let things deteriorate too badly and have taken steps to de-escalate. On November 15, Iran Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian shared his “delight” at hosting his “brother” and Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Tehran. That visit was reportedly a precursor to a visit to Tehran by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, during which some kind of roadmap for future relations is expected to be discussed.

Even if such a document were to be signed, it likely wouldn’t drastically change the current trajectory of Turkish-Iranian relations. With political Islam receding in Turkey, and conservative nationalism resurgent, Ankara will continue to bolster its alliance with Baku while trying to expand its influence further east into the Turkic republics of Central Asia.

That explains Turkey’s support for a transportation route linking it with Azerbaijan (what Baku calls the “Zangezur corridor”) through Armenia, potentially cutting off Iran. But preserving channels of dialogue can make the differences between Ankara and Tehran more manageable. Turkey also realizes that, should relations sour further, Iran can leverage its ties with the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) against Ankara. Policymakers in Baku would be wise to realize the limits of the Turkish support in any potential future conflagration with Tehran.

Azerbaijan’s close relations with Israel represent a different set of variables. Baku strongly benefited from Israel’s military technology, particularly drones, during the war with Armenia. Pro-Israel organizations also are a mainstay of Baku’s lobbying efforts in Washington directed, in no small degree, to neutralizing the rival Armenian lobby and blunting human rights criticisms. In exchange, Azerbaijan is expected to continue providing a platform for Israel’s intelligence activities aimed at Iran.

Meanwhile – already after the latest Baku-Tehran spat cooled down – the state-run Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy is proudly hosting a member of a group of Washington pundits who openly advocate for Iran’s dismemberment on ethnic lines because that, in their view, would benefit Israel. In this context, given the bellicose statements from Israeli officials concerning Iran’s nuclear program and the uncertainty surrounding the revival of the multilateral agreement that held it in check, Tehran continues to see Azerbaijan as a potential staging ground for an Israeli military attack.

This growing threat perception is leading Iran to build up its deterrence against Baku. Recently, the influential website Iranian Diplomacy, linked to former high-ranking diplomat Sadeq Kharrazi, published an article criticizing the government’s purported “appeasement policy towards Ankara and Baku” and calling for a more robust defense of “Iran’s national interests in the north.”

In practical terms, one immediate way of doing so is for Iran to pivot towards Armenia. Many in Baku saw the recent trucking spat as ending in Azerbaijan’s favor, as Iran committed to banning its trucks from travelling to Nagorno-Karabakh. The reality, however, is more complex: While Tehran indeed conceded on that issue, it also has made it clear that it will henceforth prefer Armenia, rather than Azerbaijan, as its conduit for north-south trade, thus depriving Azerbaijan of some potentially lucrative business opportunities.

Resurgence of irredentism

Other Iranian moves could be even more fraught for Azerbaijan. Iran’s efforts to cultivate pro-Iranian constituencies, primarily through Shiite religious organizations, have not yet borne fruit. Few in Azerbaijan are attracted to the Iranian system of governance, and not all devout Shiites are pro-Iran.

But over decades of international ostracism, Iran has developed highly adept skills of asymmetric warfare. The fact that Tehran today lacks any credible proxies or allies in Azerbaijan does not mean that it won’t keep trying. Iran will simply adapt to a strategic landscape that is different from Lebanon or Iraq, where the “proxy strategy” has so far proved more successful.

Internal developments in Azerbaijan and Iran, meanwhile, are contributing to a deepening of the divide between the two nations.

Authorities in Baku have been using the crisis with Tehran to launch a crackdown on alleged “Iran sympathizers” in the country, by closing down a number of Shiite religious websites and detaining some prominent Shiite clerics, even though the evidence of their pro-Iranian activity is flimsy at best. Meanwhile, the state-affiliated media continue to accuse Iran in harsh terms of meddling in Azerbaijani affairs.

While in Azerbaijan there has been a resurgence of irredentism inspired by the thought of “reunifying” the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan with the northern Iranian provinces largely populated by ethnic Azerbaijanis and known to nationalists as “southern Azerbaijan,” in Iran a countervailing movement also has gained momentum.

From this angle, it is Azerbaijan that must be reunified with the “Iranian motherland” after being forcibly incorporated into the Russian empire in the 19th century. These views have gained fresh prominence in Iran, especially on the level of public discourse. The influential reformist daily Shargh is instrumental in disseminating them. But such views are not limited only to reformist circles, as Iranian nationalism is increasingly serving as a glue around which different segments of the population can rally.

With both Baku and Tehran digging in on their current foreign policy trajectories, and public attitudes in both countries increasingly seeing each other through an adversarial lens, both neighbors appear destined to continue on this collision course for the foreseeable future. 

 

Eldar Mamedov is a political adviser to the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament. This article reflects his personal views and not necessarily the opinions of the S&D Group and the European Parliament.

https://eurasianet.o...-a-new-cold-war  



#169 Yervant1

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Posted 26 November 2021 - 09:11 AM

Iran Front Page
Nov 25 2021
 
 
‘Iranian companies ready to boost presence in Armenia’
November 25, 2021

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian has described the Iran-Armenia relations as strong and progressing during a telephone conversation with his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan.

During the phone call, the two top diplomats exchanged views over different issues including bilateral ties, economic cooperation, the Joint Economic Commission of the two countries, regional and international developments.

Amir Abdollahian expressed satisfaction with the growing trend in the Tehran-Yerevan relations over the recent months. He underlined the importance of expanding cooperation between the two sides in the political, economic and other fields.

Iran’s foreign minister said Iranian companies are ready to boost their presence in Armenia and expressed hope that the Join Economic Commission of Iran and Armenia will convene as soon as possible.

The top Iranian diplomat also said the Islamic Republic will not accept any change in the borders of countries in the region.

Amir Abdollahian also voiced concern over the recent hostilities in the Caucasus region and urged restraint and respect for territorial integrity of countries.

The Armenian foreign minister also referred to the proposed roadmap of relations between Iran and Armenia which was emphasized during his recent visit to Tehran. Mirzoyan said Yerevan is ready to hold the Joint Economic Commission and expand trade ties with Tehran.

He thanked the Islamic Republic for its support of the territorial integrity of countries and stressed Armenia’s resolve to boost relations in all fields with Iran.

Iran and Armenia have enjoyed good political and economic relations. Armenia recently built a transit route for Iranian trucks after the Azerbaijan Republic imposed levies on vehicles using another road that passed through

 

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#170 Yervant1

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Posted 29 November 2021 - 09:01 AM

News.am
Nov 28 2021
 
 
Iran President: Any change of political geography of the region will incite further tension
20:18, 28.11.2021
 
 
 

The ceasefire in the Caucasus will symbolize the start of a new chapter for development and integration in the region. This is what President of Iran Ebrahim Raisi said in his speech at the Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization in Ashgabat, IRNA reports.

“Taking into consideration the new conditions in the Caucasus, Iran believes the restoration of the traditional routes and ease of trade turnover and movement of passengers may contribute to the growth and development of the Economic Cooperation Organization in three decades. We also believe any change of the political geography in the region will not contribute to stability in the region, but it will prepare ground for tension in the future,” he stated.

“The cooperation between countries of the Caucasus will be hinged on mutual respect and maintenance of the territorial integrity of the countries, and the international rules will help ensure peace and stability,” the Iranian president emphasized.

According to him, stability in the Caucasus and the establishment of interregional cooperation such as the creation of the Persian Gulf-Black Sea international corridor will help accelerate the trade-economic exchange between member states of the Economic Cooperation Organization.

https://news.am/eng/news/674728.html



#171 Yervant1

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Posted 23 December 2021 - 09:08 AM

Panorama, Armenia
Dec 22 2021
 
 
Tehran will not tolerate any territorial change in the region, member of Iranian Majlis says
 

The Secretary of Armenia's Security Council Armen Grigoryan received on Wednesday the members of the Iran-Armenia Parliamentary Friendship Group of the Iranian Majlis, who are paying a working visit to Armenia. 

As the press service at the Security Council reported, at the beginning of the meeting,  a member of the Standing Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy of the Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadi Bigash thanked Grigoryan for the opportunity to meet. In his turn, Armen Grigoryan, welcoming Mr Bighash, emphasized that the Armenia-Iran friendly relations have been developing intensively lately.

In his speech, Mahmoud Ahmadi Bilash emphasized the role of the South Caucasus for Iran. In particular, he stressed that regional stability and security, inviolability of borders are red lines for Iran, and Tehran will not tolerate any territorial change in the region. In this context, Armen Grigoryan noted the red lines of Armenia. He underlined the imperative of starting an "era of peace" put forward by Armenia, which coincides with Iran's foreign policy priorities. The Secretary of the Security Council also highlighted the launch of the Yerevan-Nakhichevan-Julfa railway, emphasizing that it will lead to the economic development of the region's countries.

At the end of the meeting, during the meeting the interlocutors stressed the need for continued cooperation in various fields, the source said. 



#172 Yervant1

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Posted 04 January 2022 - 08:16 AM

pngFnkh4JXXdH.png
Jan 3 2022
 
 
Closer Iran-Armenia Ties to Ensure Security: Raisi

Tasnim
4th January 2022, 00:37 GMT+11

 

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Promotion of cooperation and economic relations between Iran and Armenia would serve the interests of all parties and contribute to regional security, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said.

- Politics news -

In a telephone conversation with Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan on Monday, Raisi stressed the need for the development of economic and trade ties between the two neighbors.

"Enhancement of cooperation and economic exchanges between Tehran and Yerevan would fulfill the interests of all parties and definitely contribute to security," the Iranian president said.

He also pointed to the delicate situation in the Caucasus region, saying, "The Islamic Republic of Iran's principled policy is to support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of countries."

Reaffirming Iran's support for Armenia's sovereignty over its territories and roads, the Iranian president welcomed the progress in the negotiations between Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, adding, "We hope that the other problems between the two countries would be also settled peacefully within the framework of the international principles and laws, and that we'd witness peace, stability and security in the region."

For his part, Pashinyan briefed the Iranian president on the process of negotiations about the situation in the Caucasus.

He also highlighted Armenia's determination to promote economic interaction with Iran and step up the activities of the Economic Cooperation Joint Commission.

The premier expressed confidence that closer cooperation and coordination between Armenia and Iran would help them take major steps for stabilizing regional peace and security.

https://www.bignewsn...-security-raisi






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