Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, currently in Moscow for a series of talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, insisted on Wednesday that the country would not agree to a “change of map” in the region. Caucasus, to its northwest.
Although the comments were offered without reference to any nation, they likely targeted Azerbaijan, Iran’s northwest neighbor, which has cooperated on defense matters with Israel, to Iran’s dismay. During a press conference in Moscow, Amirabdollahian stressed that Tehran had “serious concerns about the presence of terrorists and Zionists in the region”.
Azerbaijan and Iran have had a difficult relationship for a long time. In 1945, the Soviet Union sought to promote a secessionist uprising of ethnic Azeris in northwestern Iran, where they had long maintained a demographic majority. While the uprising was crushed the following year after Moscow withdrew its support, Iran has long feared Baku’s influence over the Iranian Azeris, which led it to forge closer relations with the Armenia.
Iran maintained its neutrality during the six-week war from September to November 2020 between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The two countries claim the Nagorno-Karabakh region, known in Armenia as “Artsakh”, which was part of Azerbaijan during Soviet times but retained a predominantly Armenian population and sought to join Armenia after the Soviet Union. Soviet collapse. While Armenia won the first war in 1994, Azerbaijan decisively won the revenge of 2020, in large part because of the influence of Israeli military technology, including drones. As Azerbaijan’s back-to-back victory led military planners to study its results for lessons, Iran was quick to voice concerns over Baku’s use of Israeli weapons.
Tensions have recently increased in other areas as well. After accusing Iranian truck drivers of crossing Azerbaijani territory into Armenia without paying road tolls, the government in Baku jailed two Iranian truck drivers, which led Iran to organize a series of military exercises along the border.
Azerbaijan has denied that Israel has a presence in the country, and in response to Iran’s drills, it has cooperated with Turkey, a longtime ally, in a series of its own. exercises from Wednesday.
During his meeting with Lavrov, Amirabdollahian also added that he expected nuclear negotiations on a return to the stalled Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement to resume soon in Vienna. Under President Donald Trump, the United States withdrew from the deal in 2018, leading Tehran to slowly repeal many of its commitments to the remaining powers; President Joe Biden has pledged a return to the deal during his campaign, and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said in his inaugural address in August that he would welcome further negotiations.
Trevor Filseth is a current affairs and foreign affairs writer for the National interest.