“They should open their eyes and see. Where did they see Israel’s presence in the region? Is there any proof? There is none.” Ilham Aliyev’s rhetorical question is the answer to the Iran’s accusatory absurdism of recent days. The head of state, as always, is practicing what he is preaching, unlike the Iranian leadership, who constantly swears that black is white, furtively sending its cargo trucks to the territory of Azerbaijan and conducting military exercises in search of an invisible enemy. What is Tehran trying to achieve with its declarations and actions, and will Ilham Aliyev’s words finally bring Iran to its senses?
“The President’s statement re-emphasizes the fact that Azerbaijan is ready to cooperate with the neighboring countries but rejects false accusations that there are foreign troops or foreign elements on the country’s southern borders.”
This is the opinion voiced by the chairman of the Center for Analysis of International Relations, political scientist Farid Shafiyev, as he comments on the latest events in the region.
“The situation is complicated, but, unfortunately, it is the Iranian side who is whipping up tensions. I would like to cite my recent personal experience of interaction with representatives of the Iranian analytical center, which was, by the way, very positive,” Shafiyev points out.
Representatives of the analytical center of the Iranian Foreign Ministry stayed in Baku for two weeks. The delegation was headed by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad-Kazem Sajjadpour. Afterwards, interesting contacts took place in Moscow within the framework of the triple Azerbaijan–Iran–Russia political format.
“All the comments we heard were quite positive, in particular, assurances that Iran aims to maintain good-neighborly relations with our country, that it values Azerbaijan; moreover, we received congratulation on the liberation of the occupied territories,” Shafiyev recalls.
But, the political scientist says, apparently not everyone in Iran accepts this point of view: there are changes in the “cabinet” of the Foreign Ministry happening right now. The people responsible for foreign policy are being fired, and the new appointees thought that they could allow themselves to take this radical, aggressive tone with Azerbaijan.
“But these statements will hurt only Iran itself,” Shafiyev argues. Meanwhile, according to him, Tehran should see the Caucasus as a region of potential cooperation first and foremost.
“Iran’s statements about ‘third’ or ‘foreign’ forces deployed in the territory of Azerbaijan are aimed mainly at Israel and Turkey, but they must understand that we are not hiding the fact that Azerbaijan does have a military and political cooperation and strong economic ties with both Israel and Turkey. The purpose of this cooperation is to ensure Azerbaijan’s security above all, not something else.”
“The more threats to its security Azerbaijan gets from external forces, be it Armenia or, sadly, Iran, the more Azerbaijan intends to strengthen cooperation with said countries to guarantee its defense capability,” Shafiyev summed up.