Politics

Iran's Coercive Diplomacy Against Azerbaijan Backfires As Viable Means To Achieve Objectives

Fuad Muxtarlı Analysis 21 April 2020
Iran's Coercive Diplomacy Against Azerbaijan Backfires As Viable Means To Achieve Objectives

Relations between Azerbaijan and Iran have never been cordial and trustworthy largely through Tehran’s glaring faults. Regardless of bold claims often heard from officials of the neighboring country, Azerbaijan should be wary of the mullocracy’s statements about brotherhood and the common religion.

Official Tehran should not have had a motive in deteriorating the relations with Baku as the latter has never raised a red flag though countless efforts made to use its territories against it. On the other hand, no irrefutable proofs are available to justify claims of Iran’s mouthpieces, alleging that Israel and the U.S. want to use Azerbaijan’s territories against Iran. As always, official Tehran’s fears are groundless since Baku remains loyal to good-neighborly relations and this is shown beyond doubts on every occasion.

Since 1979, Iran’s mullocracy has claimed to be protector of the world Muslims. However, what the reality is that Tehran is only and purely guided by own ambitions to export the political regime. Countless efforts were made and are now being in place to undermine Azerbaijan’s sovereignty through infiltrated proxies and external forces under various pretexts.

Whilst Azerbaijan has substantial reasons to act as a driving force of the interests of 25 million ethnic brothers and sisters in Iran to promote their fundamental rights, this has never been done officially to avoid tension in the relations. However, Tehran pretends it does not see what is going on and who spearhead visible and invisible attacks against Azerbaijan with mass brainwashing and hate.

Suffice to recall protests in Baku and Ganca as well as attempts to paralyze stability in various regions of the country. The latest stabbing in Azerbaijan’s back is provision of breakaway Karabakh region with fuel and food with the tacit consent of the regime. In addition, this is not the first incident that Yerevan gets all-out backing of Tehran and as Armenians have always stated they would not have survived without Iran’s substantial support.

In the meantime, an indisputable proof came from a Karabakh blogger, who filmed the move of vehicles with Iranian number plates, carrying food and fuel. With reliable proofs, Azerbaijan took the protest to a new level and urged Tehran to explain the reasons for the ongoing support for the separatist region.

Azerbaijan has ample proofs about Iran’s role in plundering resources of the occupied Karabakh and surrounding districts. Tehran has always rejected Baku’s rightful protests and arguments delivered through diplomatic channels. Iran does not want a strong, independent and sovereign Azerbaijan since official Tehran knows well that millions of ethnic Azerbaijanis in Iran on their native lands will soon or later succeed in their dreams notwithstanding repressions, killing and persecutions of innocent people.

After the recent striking revelation about Iran’s surreptitious and stealthy provision of Armenia and the separatist Karabakh with food, fuel and other substantial items, backed with video clips made on the scene, Azerbaijan has resolutely protested against it and called for an explanation.

Obviously, Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Xalaf Xalafov’s telephone conversation with Iranian ambassador Javad Jahangirzadeh was insufficient to let Tehran know the level of anger as a result of Iran’s supply of Karabakh with necessary products at a time of coronavirus pandemic and Baku’s 5m dollars gift to the neighbour to fight against the virus.

Soon after Baku’s protest, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Aragchi called Azerbaijan’s Xalafov to disprove what was proved by the video clip, made by indignant Armenian blogger, over his concern about possible infection by drivers coming from the virus-stricken Iran – the major supplier of the breakaway region and poverty stricken Armenia – when it is disconnected from Russia.

Xalaf Xalafov during the talks mentioned the video that was actively distributed on social networks- trucks with Iranian number plates transporting fuel, raw materials and food to the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, emphasized that such actions serve to support the occupying country - Armenia.

Strictly speaking, the cooperation between Iran and Armenia is no longer news or sensation for anyone. As well as the fact that Armenia stakes seriously on this aid. In Baku, this cooperation aroused and causes quite understandable indignation. Moreover, from the point of view of law, international law, and just such concepts as decency, there is a huge difference whether we are talking about Armenia as a state or an occupying regime created by the same Armenia in Xankandi.

Finally, a video clip leaked against a revealing background. In early March, when Iran was one of the first in the region to face a coronavirus epidemic, Azerbaijan provided financial assistance to Iran, sending $5 million to the neighboring country to fight against coronavirus - at a time when the U.S. blocked Iranian aid at the level of international organizations. Moreover, Iran’s “thank you” turned out to be original...

However, it is unlikely that Baku is guided by emotions - in diplomacy, as they are not the best adviser. What is worth attention is the balance of power that has changed in the Azerbaijani-Iranian relations. Over recent years, Azerbaijan has noticeably increased political influence and authority. Now our diplomats, in a conversation with Iranian counterparts, can already put a question point-blank.

Xalaf Xalafov put Tehran several unpleasant questions, that is, Baku has not and will not pass into oblivion the treachery move proved once again by the scandalous video. It raised the topic to the level of negotiations between the deputy foreign ministers of the two countries – this, in itself, is a serious signal.

The fact that the issue with Iranian trucks was mentioned during a telephone conversation was not reported by informed sources, but by the Foreign Ministry press service, which is also a message worth attention. If official Baku did protested against Iran for the sake of diplomacy, it would not have taken the issue to a new level and discuss it with the deputy minister of Iran.
Baku needs to hear a resolute and credible response from Tehran before it strikes Iranian vehicles, which is possible both from air and from ground judging by the mapping of route of the vehicles carrying goods to Xankandi. Let us call a spade a spade; Iran’s formal reply did not convince Baku. Tehran’s futile attempts to ascribe it to enemies’ plot sound none but an unconvincing excuse, to put it mildly.

All this is not just a serious diplomatic emery for Tehran, where until recently, even in a nightmare, they could not imagine that Azerbaijan would talk to them in such a tone. Much more important than the other is that Azerbaijani diplomats are raising the question boldly: if Tehran, which is in strict international isolation, wants to maintain good neighborly relations with Azerbaijan, then Iran should curtail its outrageous cooperation with the Armenian occupiers.

Most importantly, Armenia’s ploy backfired as its intention has always been to deteriorate relations between Baku and Tehran and kill two birds with a single stone. Iran has to understand what is behind Yerevan’s intention, which will boomerang against it.

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