Armenia-Iran Nurture Strategic Relations as Bulwark Against Pan-Turkic Expansionism
Posted on October. 7. 2021
BY APPO JABARIAN Executive Publisher / Managing Editor USA Armenian Life Magazine (English-language print edition) USA Armenian Life E-Newsletter (Electronic Distribution — e-blast) Hye Kiank Armenian Weekly (Armenian-language print edition) USA Armenian LifeFACEBOOK www.armenianlife.com
Islamic Republic of Iran is Christian Armenia’s one of only two gateways to the outside world. Iran is located just south of Armenia.
Armenia has been blockaded since 1993 by neighboring Turkey in the West and Azerbaijan in the East.
The 44-day Turkey/Azerbaijan/ISIS terrorist aggression against Armenians of the Artsakh Republic in Fall 2020 and its aftermath brought into focus Azerbaijani-Turkish hegemonic ambitions in South Caucasus.
Soon after the signing of the Moscow November 10, 2020 Tri-Partite Statement on cessation of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Baku started peddling false claims that there was a ‘promise to hand Armenia’s southernmost Meghri corridor’ to Azerbaijan linking Azerbaijan to Turkey. Doing so, would effectively cut off Armenia from Iran. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has categorically denied such claims. In order to bring Armenia down to its knees, both Azerbaijan and Turkey maintained a policy of continuous harassment against border villages in Armenia.
But recently Baku expanded its target to include Iran which expressed unequivocal support of Armenia’s territorial integrity.
Baku escalated its overt military activities with Turkey and ISIS, and reportedly covert activities with Israeli military this time targeting Iran and Armenia’s southern ‘Meghri corridor.’
On Oct. 4 in Tehran, during a joint press conference with his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian declared: “The presence of the Zionists and Israeli regime in the South Caucasus region is a cause for serious concern for us. … We announce loudly that we will not allow certain actors to have an influence on Iran’s relations with its neighbors, including Armenia.”
“Our region cannot tolerate any new crises. All regional countries will reach a consensus that regional problems should be solved by regional actors and without any foreign interference,” the top Iranian diplomat pointed out.
His remarks come amid heightened tensions between Iran and neighboring Azerbaijan over the Israeli regime’s presence on Azeri soil, which Iran regards as a threat against its national security.
The Iranian Army’s Ground Forces on Friday October 1 held military exercises codenamed Fatehan-e Khaybar (Conquerors of Khaybar) in the northwestern part of the country.
The Iranian actions were in response to Turkey’s joint military drills with Azerbaijan before and after the 44-day anti-Armenian aggression in Fall 2020. As of press time this week, the latest Turkey/Azerbaijan military exercises were being held in the Azerbaijani-occupied Armenian territory of Nakhichevan near Armenia proper and Iran.
While Tehran may be preoccupied by differences with Tel Aviv, Iran, Russia, United States, China, European Union, Armenia and Georgia should pay close attention to Ankara and Baku’s ambitions for pan-Turkic expansion toward the East all the way to Central Asia.
Pan-Turkism must be stopped at all costs. One of the effective ways: Armenia’s southern Syunik region should become economically, politically and militarily strengthened in order to undermine Azerbaijan/Turkey’s appetite for new land grab from Armenia. Strong Syunik can serve as bulwark against Pan-Turkism.
Armenian FM Mirzoyan hailed his Oct. 4 talks with his Iranian counterpart in an atmosphere of friendship and mutual trust and said, “a very bright future awaits the two countries as both sides agreed to deepen mutual strategic relations.”
He also thanked Iran’s support for Armenia’s territorial integrity and said the two countries are determined to improve relations and would spare no efforts in this regard.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Sunday: “I am confident that our Iranian partners know that the Republic of Armenia has never been and will never be involved in any conspiracy against Iran, because we extremely value those relations.”
Pointing to the presence of terrorists in the region, Amir-Abdollahian said, “Unfortunately, following tensions in the South Caucasus region, we are witnessing the presence of foreign terrorists and the destructive activities of the Zionist regime (Israel) in the region.”
He further said, Iran is determined to expand ties with Armenia in various political, economic and cultural fields and expressed hope that the two sides would implement joint economic projects to help increase bilateral trade.
It’s remarkable that the Armenian FM Mirzoyan and Pashinyan government support enhancement of strategic relations with Iran. During the past thirty years, succeeding regimes of the Republic of Armenia miserably failed in creating and strengthening the strategic relations with Iran through the help of Iranian Armenians.
As an integral part of the Armenia-Iran bridge to a better future, Syunik should be placed on a fast track to unprecedented economic and industrial development contributing to Armenia and Artsakh’s sovereignty and national security. As the popular saying goes, “Artsakh is the backbone of Armenia.” I would like to add: “Syunik is the backbone of Artsakh. From a moral-spiritual standpoint, both Artsakh and Armenia are the backbone of Armenian Diaspora and Armenian Diaspora is the economic, technological, and immense human-resource backbone of both Armenia and Artsakh. Massive participation by the Armenian Diaspora through expedited further integration between Armenians in dispersion and their motherland is now vitally important.
The economic benefits for the South Caucasus region and the world superpowers from a new rapprochement between the United States/European Union and Iran can contribute to sustainable stability.
The normalization of US-Iran relations that can bring Iran back to constructive cooperation with the West and make Iran the next regional ally of the West in the Middle East replacing Turkey.
The widely anticipated lifting of U.S. sanctions against Iran can enable Armenia to reap huge benefits and continue to diversify its foreign alliances.
In March, the Indian Ambassador to Iran Gaddam Dharmendra announced that India is planning on connecting the Chabahar port (a seaport in southeast Iran, heavily invested in by India) and the Indian Ocean with Eurasia and Helsinki through the territory of Armenia, creating an International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), adding that New Delhi is planning to make Chabahar the most important and busiest port in the region.
It is envisaged that the International North-South Transport Corridor will connect the European markets with India and Iran through Armenia, Georgia and the Black Sea taking natural resources and other transporting goods to Europe and Russia.
Turkish Neo-Ottoman Sultan Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Azerbaijani despot Ilham Aliyev are adamantly opposed to such a communication superhighway that economically isolates both Ankara and Baku. Now one can see Turkey and Azerbaijan want to forcibly occupy Southern Armenia’s Syunik/Zangezur region.
Now it’s obvious why Armenia-Iran must continue nurturing strategic relations as bulwark against Pan-Turkic expansionism.