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Iran to compete with Israel for influence in Azerbaijan, says expert

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Iran to compete with Israel for influence in Azerbaijan, says expert

YEREVAN, JUNE 13, ARMENPRESS. Azerbaijan doesn’t generally seek to fully cut off its relations with Iran but is rather aiming to push Iran to launch the Rasht-Astara section of the North-South corridor and build the 162km long railway, according to expert on Iran Harut Artin Arakelyan.

Azerbaijan has already reached its goal since Russia and Iran have already agreed to invest joint resources for launching that section, Arakelyan told ARMENPRESS, speaking about the prospects of the reopening of the Azerbaijani embassy in Tehran.

Nasser Kanaani, the official representative of the Iranian foreign ministry, earlier said that the Tehran-Baku negotiations are now shifting from the phase of tensions to the phase of discussing the reopening of the Azerbaijani embassy in Tehran.

“Iran is displaying unique diplomacy, it’s not in a hurry, allowing time to solve many issues. Nonetheless, for strengthening control against Azerbaijan and bringing it on its side, meeting Baku halfway in regional logistic issues will definitely be used in Iran’s foreign policy as an important direction. The parties will achieve the reopening of the Azerbaijani embassy to be directly interlinked with the launch of the North-South corridor through Azerbaijani territory,” Arakelyan said.

The expert said the discussions on reopening the Azerbaijani embassy in Tehran were definitely expected. Moreover, this isn’t mainly Azerbaijan’s desire, because the goal of its sponsors, especially Israel, is to spread anti-Iranian sentiments. That’s why Iran continues to conduct military exercises, because the drills basically have a preventative nature.

Nevertheless, according to Arakelyan, there will still be some feuds between the two countries especially in the media sector because Iran’s rivals Israel and the UK have great influence over Azerbaijan, and they will try to limit Iran’s aspirations in the South Caucasus, but if Iran were to normalize its relations with Azerbaijan it would thus strengthen its positions in the region.

According to Arakelyan, Iran will nonetheless not succeed in completely bringing Azerbaijan on its side and keeping control over it, thus it will seek to treat it as a colleague, preventing the influence especially from Israel, which is attempting to develop good-neighborly ties with all neighbors of Iran and create obstacles for Tehran in the region.

“It’s not like Iran is silently looking at this all, Tehran recently showcased its air defense arsenal, ballistic missiles with a range of 1400 kilometers. Iran is simultaneously strengthening its positions in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, showing that it can successfully counter Israel and compete against it also for expanding its zones of influence in Azerbaijan. By cooperating, the Iranian and Azerbaijani governments will be able to silence anti-Iranian elements in Azerbaijan,” the expert said.

If Azerbaijan-Iran relations get normalized, Armenia will also have a lever in terms of suppressing Azerbaijan’s encroachments by establishing closer ties with Iran, thus regional stability stems from Armenia’s vital interests, the expert added.

AREMNPRESS

Armenia, Yerevan, 0002, Martiros Saryan 22

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