The development of Armenian-Iranian cooperation is a necessity
After the end of the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Artsakh), the region did not achieve peace; instead, new challenges arose, which are now common to both Armenia and Iran. First of all, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains unresolved, and in addition, Azerbaijan violated the November 9, 2020 agreement by closing the Lachin Corridor, which connects Armenia and Artsakh, and keeps Artsakh under blockade for more than 7 months.
Full text of the article
Full text of the article
After the end of the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Artsakh), the region did not achieve peace; instead, new challenges arose, which are now common to both Armenia and Iran. First of all, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains unresolved, and in addition, Azerbaijan violated the November 9, 2020 agreement by closing the Lachin Corridor, which connects Armenia and Artsakh, and keeps Artsakh under blockade for more than 7 months. As a result, Baku does not even allow humanitarian cargo transportation to Artsakh, depriving Armenians of basic living conditions and deepening the humanitarian and energy crisis in the country.
Moreover, Azerbaijan extends its territorial ambitions to Armenia and Iran. To legitimize its aggressive actions against these two countries, Azerbaijan promotes the so-called West Azerbaijan and South Azerbaijan theses, claiming that the territory of Armenia and the northwest of Iran belong to Azerbaijan and should be "returned". The issue of the so-called "Zangezur Corridor" was put forward as the first action on the way to achieving that goal.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Armenia have common interests and common concerns in the field of national security," emphasized Iranian Ambassador to Armenia, Abbas Badakhshan Zohuri, in a recent interview with the Armenian think tank Orbeli. It is evident that the so-called "Zangezur Corridor issue" is one of those common concerns for Armenia and Iran.
This corridor idea, sponsored by Turkey and Azerbaijan, aims beyond merely connecting Nakhichevan and Azerbaijan, which already has an existing connection through Iran. Instead, the actual objectives are to conquer Armenian territory, particularly Syunik, to eliminate the Armenian-Iranian border, to present territorial ambitions to the north of Iran, and pursue the unification of the Pan-Turkic world. „Many observers were surprised as to why the two governments of Azerbaijan and Turkey are insisting so much on the possibility of rising tensions among related parties. Gradually, the realities became known and the understanding of experts is that the intention behind these extensive links that connect Nakhchivan to the Republic of Azerbaijan is that, first, they would divide Armenia into two parts and, second, they disconnect Iran and Armenia, severing a link that dates back to the era of the Achaemenid and Parthian Empires. Third, it would limit Iran’s connection to outside and from then on, we will be neighbor to 14 countries, instead of 15, and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s free connection with North Caucasus, Russia and the European continent will be disrupted. Any change in regional borders will cause long-term tensions“,- Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei pointed out in his last article. Despite Armenia's repeated statements that it is ready to provide rail and road communication between Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan through its territory, it insists that these routes must be under the exclusive control of Armenia.
Unfortunately, Azerbaijan continues to employ threats of force to obtain the "corridor". Periodic attacks on Armenia's borders are aimed at oppressing Armenia and extracting concessions. In September 2022, Azerbaijan even launched a large-scale operation, attacking the borders of RA Syunik, Vayots Dzor, and Gegharkunik. It should be mentioned that the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia clarified that Iranian actions helped to stop a further deterioration of September 2022 attack from Azerbaijan. Nevertheless, Azerbaijan persists in escalating the situation to this day. It continues to arm itself, with significant purchases from Israel, and further strengthens relations with Israel through high-level visits, including the president and the minister of defense. Additionally, Azerbaijani-Turkish military exercises continue, and Azerbaijan undergoes a wide process of integration with Turkey's NATO army. All these developments indicate Azerbaijan's preparation for another potential war.
Given these circumstances, the development of Armenian-Iranian cooperation, especially in the security sector, becomes imperative. The longstanding Armenian-Iranian relations in the region must be placed on a qualitatively new basis to prevent any threat to the interests of both countries. Armenia and Iran serve as the main barriers to disrupting Pan-Turkic plans. Moreover, Armenia is considered an important route for Iran, while Iran acts as a gateway to the outside world for Armenia. This connection between the two countries must remain uninterrupted to avoid potential disasters in the region.