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Iranian Priopities Vis-a-Vis Azerbaijan

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#1 man



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Posted 15 August 2013 - 04:27 PM





Tensions between Baku and Tehran are manifest in more than one area, though in particular in foreign policy and security issues. To counteract the strong Russian and Iranian opposition, Azerbaijan has maintained strategic relations with the United States, the European Union, NATO, and Israel. Moreover, Baku continues to espouse a pro-Western strategy, despite direct calls from Tehran to end its cooperation with the “Great Satan” (United States) and “Small Satan” (Israel).


Tehran’s official propaganda declares Israel as a main enemy of the Islamic world. Azerbaijani policy, however, differs. It does not view Israel as an enemy and considers it a friendly country, in which Muslims and Jews can live in peace and friendship. At the same time, Azerbaijan has developed close ties with Turkey, Iran’s rival in the Islamic world. Baku and Ankara cooperate and operate as a strong alliance on the global and regional levels, which has angered Iran. Thus, Azerbaijan’s independence and its secular and democratic nature of power as well as its pro-Western government are strong exacerbating factors for Iran’s policymakers. In light of this, Iran’s key priorities towards Azerbaijan can be identified as follows:


  1. To spread the Iranian Islamic Revolution’s ideas to Azerbaijan;
  2. To intensify Shi’i ideology propaganda and expand the Islamic network;
  3. To destabilize the political situation in Azerbaijan in an attempt to establish a pro-Islamic or Shi’i regime;
  4. To damage or discredit Azerbaijan’s independence, as well as its secular and democratic nature;
  5. To intensify intelligence activity and expand its espionage network;
  6. To limit and minimize Azerbaijan’s influence on Iranian Azeris;
  7. To support the separatism of local ethnic groups (Talish, Lesgi, and others);
  8. To halt Israel’s cooperation with Azerbaijan and Georgia;
  9. To minimize U.S. influence and curtail Azerbaijan’s bid for EU/NATO membership;
  10. To damage Azerbaijan’s international image and pro-Western foreign policy;
  11. To contain Azerbaijan’s rise to regional power;
  12. To exert constant pressure on and intimidate Azerbaijan to use military force;
  13. To provide assistance to Azerbaijan’s regional rival–Armenia–to maintain the balance between the two countries, and to keep Azerbaijan engaged in war with Armenia;
  14. To support Russia’s “cosmetic” attempts to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict;
  15. To preserve Azerbaijan under Russia’s dominance.

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