IRAN FEARS: American military base may appear in Azerbaijan
The Iran Islamic Republic has a special and active policy towards Azerbaijan. In particular, this is manifested in Iran’s position in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Iran is not interested in settling this conflict, and has special reasons for this. Historically, the population of the northern part of Iran consists of Azerbaijani Turks, the number of which approaches 30 million.
The close relationship between Israel and Azerbaijan, as well as Turkey and the US (Iran’s main enemy), prompts the Iranian authorities to change their policy towards Azerbaijan.
However, relations with Armenia are developing quite well, given that countries not only maintain economic ties, but also exchange military technology.
The question of Turkic union in the North of Iran may be raised and supported by the USA
U.S. diplomats concluded in late 2008 that the government of Armenia had supplied Iran with rockets and machine guns later used to kill American troops in Iraq, according to State Department cables disclosed by WikiLeaks.
John D. Negroponte, deputy secretary of state at the time, wrote a December 2008 letter to Armenian President, Serzh Sargsyan, expressing “deep concerns about Armenia’s transfer of arms to Iran, which resulted in the death and injury of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.”
The cables also show U.S. diplomatic efforts to stop German sales of high-technology equipment to Iranian front companies, and block conventional arms sales from Turkey to Iran. Both countries are NATO allies.
The Iranian authorities are well aware of the fact that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the only obstacle, in the way of Azerbaijan, for becoming a powerful force in the Caspian region.
This scenario does not meet the interests of either Russia or Iran, which are allies, not only in the Syrian issue, but also in the Caspian Sea zone. The essence of Iran’s changeable policy can be clearly understood, based on the following fact.
A representative of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Bahram Kesemi, commenting on the meeting between the foreign ministries of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia in Moscow, made a sensational statement.
The first part of the statement says:
“It is a mistake to think that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can be resolved by one person or one country.” It is true that this conflict has long been internationalized; its settlement for many years is the responsibility of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chaired by the United States, Russia and France.
There is also a well-known phrase of Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, that the Karabakh conflict “is not an internal affair of Azerbaijan”.
Hence, it is logical to assume that the conflict is not an internal affair of Armenia.
The second part of the statement.
Kasemi says: “It is impossible to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict without taking into account the role of the people (nation).
Only recently, when President Ilham Aliyev was received in Tehran, Iranian President, Hasan Rouhani, said that Tehran “always supported the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan”.
Now, there is a certain shift in the emphasis of Iran’s policy.
According to Lana Medzhidovna, senior researcher at the Russian Center for Middle and Near East Studies, it may be Tehran’s reaction to the close friendship of Baku with Israel and the United States.
Iran fears that an American military base may appear in Azerbaijan and the question of Turkic union in the North of Iran may be raised and supported by the USA.
Recently, the Minister of Defence and Support of the Armed Forces of Iran, calling for a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, expressed the hope that “Azerbaijan and Armenia will not allow the third parties to interfere in the conflict, which can only lead to its aggravation.”
But who does Tehran refer to as ‘third countries’, except for itself and Russia?
At a joint press conference with Georgian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif called cooperation of four countries—Georgia, Iran, Armenia and Azerbaijan—an indispensable condition for the functioning of the Persian Gulf-Black Sea corridor.
This major project, if it is implemented, will bring its participants not only economic dividends, but will also give them the status of a key political player in the region.
“It is possible to create two corridors:” Iran-Armenia-Georgia-Black Sea “and” Iran-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey-Black Sea.
“Do not forget that today there is a railway construction that will connect Baku with Tehran.”
This means that, in case of Armenia’s passivity, Iran, having assessed all the risks, and having weighed all the pros and cons, can choose Azerbaijan as the key ally—as a corridor linking Europe and the Indian Ocean.
Official Baku has good opportunities. Azerbaijan has a developed railway infrastructure, which is more suitable for trade in large volumes and, in addition, maintains close relations with Turkey and Israel.
This, in turn, means that Iran will try to extend its influence to Azerbaijan to a certain extent. After all, Tehran faces the task of securing itself from Baku. Vardan Voskanyan emphasizes that the Iranian side understands perfectly.
Yerevan, unlike Baku, is a more reliable partner. This increases the chances of Armenia as a key player in the implementation of the project to build the corridor of the Persian Gulf—the Black Sea.
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