PanARMENIAN.Net - During Abiyev’s visit to Tehran, it was declared that Iran and Azerbaijan do not share tense relations. These statements were made in Baku by Ali Hasanov, Head of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration Department on Social-Political Issues. According to Hasanov, certain circles in Iran, fearing military invasion from the West, are putting pressure on all the neighboring states, particularly those that maintain good relations with Western countries in the sphere of military security. Hasanov also managed to remind that “Territorial integrity of Azerbaijan is not restored. Azerbaijan is using its defense and might just as it is able and willing. No foreign country has the right to intervene in this. Azerbaijan is not going to attack anyone. She only intends to strengthen her military power for the sake of her sovereignty.” However, Tehran does not think that Azerbaijan is arming and renovating its military airfields only to resolve the Karabakh issue. For this purpose, as Tehran quite reasonably believes, one does not need the great amount of weapons that Azerbaijan is buying. The more so that at a recent meeting of foreign ministers of Iran, Turkey and Azerbaijan in Nakhichevan Ali Akbar Salehi of Iran stated that the three countries were linked by history. “We are three states, three bodies with one spirit. This is, of course, reflected in the agreements among all three countries. We will continue our consultations on a regular basis. The three countries have a combined population of more than 170 million which creates a big market potential,” the Iranian FM said.
All of this is, of course, good, but the parties did not agree on simplification of the visa regime. Iran demands that in case of cancellation of the visa regime with Turkey, Azerbaijan did the same with Iran. If Azerbaijan does not cancel the visa regime with Iran, but does it with Turkey only, she will lose Nakhichevan, a ground connection with which goes through Iran. There are also the demographic statistics. Azerbaijan has a population of 9 million, while the population of Iran is 75 million, almost half of it – about 35 million – being ethnic Azeris and having sibling connection to Azerbaijan.
Through them, Iran could spread its religious and cultural influence in Azerbaijan. One reason for the strained relations between Iran and Azerbaijan is also the fact that President Ilham Aliyev stated the other day that he is the president of 50 million Azerbaijanis living throughout the world, and some Azerbaijani MPs even proposed to call the country Northern Azerbaijan, thus emphasizing that the presence of north implies also the existence of south.
All of this cannot but alert Tehran, and also Ankara, no matter how often they talk about “one nation and two states”. For Turkey, by and large, more gainful would have sounded the slogan “two nations, one state." If Ilham Aliyev relies on the United States in the event of inadequate actions towards its neighbors – not only Armenia but also Iran – then this optimism is too delusive. No one will allow Baku, as well as the whole South Caucasus, to pursue an independent policy. There are more serious players in the region, who gamble, also on the Iranian oil. Iranian, and not Azerbaijani. The Caspian region has 5% of global oil reserves, and the bulk of it is concentrated in Iran and Turkmenistan. However, it is still unclear how much oil and gas Azerbaijan exactly possesses. Assessments were made back in the 70s of the past century in the USSR, and these data shouldn’t be sufficient to parade one’s position of “the main energy supplier to the West”, what Aliyev does.