By Rachel Avraham
The South Caucasus has historically been the focus of great empires. Since it is located on the border between Europe and Asia, the possession of these territories was the access of the empires to all parts of the Eurasian continent. For this reason, throughout history, the region has been continuously attacked by major powers. Unfortunately, in modern times, huge states like Russia and Iran do not take their eyes off these lands.
Putin’s Russia, which started a war against Ukraine in February 2022 and continues to this day, has either not reacted at all to what is happening on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border in recent times, or is trying to choose an observer position. For Iran, it is not enough to blame the external forces in order to counter the unrest leading to a movement for regime change and so by supporting Armenia, it is trying to take harsh measures against Azerbaijan in order to create a distraction for its population.
There are several main reasons why Iran supports Armenia. The first of these is fear of Azerbaijan and the strengthening of Azerbaijan. A strong Azerbaijan is more attractive than a sanction-infested international pariah state for Azerbaijani Turks living in the lands of South Azerbaijan occupied by Iran. Considering that Azerbaijanis settled there have always wanted to see a whole and united Azerbaijan, this opportunity is desirable for them. As Iran is always worried about their desire to join Azerbaijan, the strengthening of Azerbaijan does not benefit it.
The second main reason is military cooperation between Israel and Azerbaijan. It is known that Israel was one of the main military suppliers of Azerbaijan during the Second Karabakh War. Iran thinks that the rapprochement between these two countries especially in wake of the opening of an Azerbaijani Embassy in Tel Aviv will turn against it, and they even accuse Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanis of supporting Israeli intelligence.
The third reason is the fact that Turkey entered the region against the background of the strengthening of Azerbaijan-Turkey relations. Since Iran is against the arrival of a new state in the region, it prevents this alliance in every way.
The fourth main reason is that Armenia plays the role of an outlet for Iran to the outside world. The fact that Iran does not maintain normal relations with any western country leads to them out of jealousy not accepting Azerbaijan as an eastern representative and this increases the tension with Turkey, thus making Iran dependent on Armenia. Besides, Armenia plays the role of being a nice escape for Iranian citizens. By coming to Armenia, Iranians experience what they cannot experience in their own country. For citizens of countries where alcohol is prohibited, this opportunity is a must.
Thus, it is clear why Iran is behind always supporting Armenia. These are also the reasons for the opening of Iran’s consulate in Armenia in Gafan region in October, so that Armenian-Iranian relations could be further bulstered, as a nuclear deal with the West appears far from the horizon in an era when Iran is wantonly massacring its own people and edges closer to a nuclear bomb. These two factors have pushed the West way from Iran, thus leaving Armenia as the only window to the outside world for a nation crushing under international sanctions, who is viewed as a pariah to the community of nations for committing grave crimes against humanity and spreading terrorism across the globe.