Azerbaijan as an external enemy of the Iranian regime - analyst from Baku
Azerbaijan as an external enemy
Tension between Azerbaijan and Iran is increasing. Today the special forces of the Azerbaijani army began exercises in the south of the country near the state border with Iran. This may be a response to recent military exercises by the Iranian army on the border with Azerbaijan. According to Azerbaijani political observer Nasimi Mammadli, Tehran has declared Azerbaijan its external enemy, and if Iran invades a neighboring state, it will face a crushing defeat.
- Iranian consulate opened on southern border of Armenia, in city of Kapan
- Azerbaijan to build road to Nakhichevan bypassing Armenia
- Aggravation of relations between Azerbaijan and Iran – what’s happening?
Large countries in the region are gradually being drawn into the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. On October 21 Iran opened a consulate general in the Armenian city of Kapan. At the opening of the diplomatic department, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic, Hossein Amir Abdullahian, stated that Iran considers the security of Armenia to be its security. On the same day, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that Turkey would open a consulate in Shusha.
Hostile dialogue is also being accompanied by military provocations. At the end of October the Iranian armed forces conducted military exercises on the border with Azerbaijan, and during the exercises, military equipment was brought over the Araz River – the main section of border between the countries – on pontoon bridges. Today the special forces of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces began exercises in the south of the country, near the Iranian border.
Why is Iran concerned?
According to Nasimi Mammadli, Turkey’s influence in the South Caucasus and Central Asia is growing at an accelerated pace. Ties between Turkic states are being established very rapidly:
“The Iranian regime is deeply concerned about this. Instead of seizing the opportunity for cooperation, they try to block it. Tehran’s opening of a consulate in Kapan demonstrates its true intention. They want to disrupt the opening of the corridor from Zangilan to Nakhichevan through Armenia by all possible means. In order to prevent the establishment of a direct land connection between Turkey and Azerbaijan, it is even ready to give up its ideological principles.”
“Iran’s position coincides with Armenia’s”
Mammadli noted that the opening of the Iranian diplomatic mission in Kapan did not come as a surprise to Azerbaijan or Turkey:
“Iran supported Armenia with all its resources during the 30 years of occupation of Azerbaijani territory. Tehran has never protested the destruction of our historical, religious and cultural monuments by the occupiers.”
According to the Mammadli, the role of Russia is significant:
“What Russia could not do with regard to Azerbaijan directly, due to the internal relations of the CIS, it did through Iran. Iran has always secretly supported the occupation of Azerbaijani territories and the aggression of Armenia. Now it has become clear, because in the current conditions the opportunity to disguise this support has been exhausted.”
If Azerbaijan gets rid of the Karabakh problem and achieves sustainable peace with Armenia, it can become the most attractive country in the region, Mammadli believes.
“There are enough resources for this. Economic, trade and political relations with Turkey, Central Asia and the West may further expand. The Iranian regime intends to disrupt the transformation of Azerbaijan into a center of gravity for about 40 million Turks living in Iran,” he added.
Azerbaijan as an external enemy
Mammadli postulates that unfree nations prefer to look for external enemies when under threat at home by protest movements:
“In order to divert the attention of the population from the protests, to disguise the illegal actions of the authorities, to change the direction of public discussions, the regime comes up with theses about the existence of an external threat. In the current geopolitical conditions, Iran has chosen Azerbaijan as its target instead of traditional external ‘enemies’.
The Iranian regime understands that openly declaring the US, EU, and Israel as hostile is worn out. The reaction of society to this propaganda has weakened.”
“Everything could go south for Iran itself”
Mammadli believes that if Iran intends to carry out military aggression against Azerbaijan, everything can go south for Tehran:
“The possibility of Iran’s direct military intervention in Azerbaijan is doubtful. In this case, Turkey, Pakistan and even Afghanistan will take adequate steps against Iran. It is unlikely that Israel, the US, the EU and other Muslim countries would be bystanders in this matter.
Iran may suffer a more severe defeat in Azerbaijan than Iraq did in 1990 in Kuwait during the Gulf War.”
“The entrance of Iranian troops into Armenia is possible in three cases”
“The entrance of Iranian troops into Armenia is possible in three cases. First, Armenia should formally ask Iran to do so. In this case, Armenia faces two problems: relations with Russia and the West. Armenia is a member of the CSTO and its borders are still controlled by Russia. Without the consent of Russia, such a step is impossible. On the other hand, the Pashinyan government, which came to power with the political and financial support of the West and seeks close cooperation with the EU, is forced to distance itself from Iran.
Second, this is possible with the unofficial consent of Russia and without the open objection of Armenia. And this would alienate the Pashinyan government from the West and even put an end to his power.
Third, Russia could be weakened to such an extent that Iran enters Armenia without having been asked. At the moment this is unrealistic. Although Russia has been weakened to a certain extent, it is not so much as to be powerless against Iran. In the short term, this does not seem realistic,” Mammadli concluded in a recent interview.