"Iran has no serious grounds for claims against Azerbaijan" - Tofig Zulfugarov
Tofig Zulfugarov on relations with Iran
Over the past weekend the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Iran spoke twice by phone. According to former Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Tofig Zulfugarov, Iran’s political elite is aware that the growing tension between the countries is not beneficial to either Tehran or Baku. “Iran has no serious grounds for claims against Azerbaijan,” he said.
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Azerbaijan and Iran agreed to continue the pursuit of joint projects during the calls.
In the meantime, it is too early to say the tension in relations between Baku and Tehran has subsided. The rhetoric of hatred towards each other continues in the media of both countries. This morning, law enforcement of Azerbaijan announced the arrest of four more citizens accused of relations with radical religious groups in Iran.
“Growing tension is not beneficial for either Tehran or Baku”
According to Tofig Zulfugarov, negotiations between the foreign ministers are a positive factor:
“I would like to note that I do not fully understand the situation with foreign policy in Iran. Each country has several high-ranking officials who are authorized to speak and make statements about their country’s foreign policy. And in Iran, the opinions of either a military man or a religious leader of a particular region are heard, and this then causes disagreements in Azerbaijan.
One can come to the conclusion that in the foreign policy of Iran, different political circles within the country have their own approaches, different from the state.
But it is clear that the political elite of Iran understands that the growth of tension is not beneficial for anyone – neither Tehran nor Baku.”
Zulfugarov stressed that it is still unclear to him what Iran is accusing Azerbaijan of.
“If they are fighting the “Zionist regime,” as they call Israel, then Iran has troops in Syria where they are face to face with Israel. Let them fight there. And looking for Zionists in Azerbaijan is devoid of logic, far from reality.
The Iranian parliament condemns Azerbaijan for opening an embassy in Tel Aviv. Firstly, Azerbaijan is the last of the CIS countries to open its diplomatic representation in Israel.
Secondly, after participating in the opening of the embassy in Israel, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov visited Palestine, met with the leadership of this state there, and expressed support for Palestine on behalf of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan’s representative office will open in Ramallah in the near future.
It is interesting that the leadership of Palestine welcomes the opening of the Azerbaijani embassy in Tel Aviv, but the Iranian parliament is concerned about it,” Zulfugarov said.
“Yerevan and Baku don’t know, but Tehran knows”
In an interview with Turan, Zulfugarov dwelt on another issue that provokes nervousness in Iran:
“Another accusation of Tehran against Baku is about the Zangezur corridor. But there is an interesting detail here.
As you know, there is an agreement between Iran and Azerbaijan to open a road to Nakhichevan through Iranian territory. As part of this project, two bridges will be built. It turns out that through the territory of Iran you can travel to Nakhichevan, but not through Armenia.
Secondly, according to the tripartite statement dated November 10, 2020, a corridor should be created connecting the main part of Azerbaijan with Nakhichevan through the territory of Armenia, and this road should be guarded by Russian special services. Armenia signed this document. In other words, this road will not be under the control of Azerbaijan.
Iran also states that the borders in the region cannot change. But they must change, because the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia is still not delimited and not demarcated. Baku and Yerevan do not yet recognize each other’s borders.
And the reason for this is that different thoughts are heard from Yerevan about the borders. Thus, Armenian politicians sometimes state that Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Armenia. Then they say that the maps of the Soviet era should be taken as a basis. They also say that we are ready to recognize the borders of Azerbaijan, but without Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenia today does not recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, which means that there are no Azerbaijan borders for Yerevan. Or they are in the form in which the Armenian politicians imagine them. By the same logic, Azerbaijan now does not recognize the borders of Armenia.
But somehow those in Tehran know where the border between these two countries is. This is despite the fact that we have not even agreed with each other.
To be honest, Iran’s claims against Azerbaijan have no serious grounds.”