Lastly, Azerbaijan's close connections with Turkey and Israel provide the United States with an opportunity to improve relations with both. Shortly before this pact, former United States Secretary of Defense Donald Azerbaijani-Iranian relations warmed up significantly following the. These two countries border each other in the Caspian Sea as well. Both countries Azerbaijan has the second largest Shi'i population in the world, after Iran.
Washington benefits whenever Europe reduces its dependence on Russia oil and gas. Europe depends on Russian natural gas for 40 percent of its needs. Russia has a track record of using energy as a tool of aggression, and each barrel of oil and cubic meter of gas that Europe can buy from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, or Turkmenistan is one less that it must depend on from Russia.
Currently, there are three major oil and gas pipelines in the region, which bypass Russia and Iran and run through the mile-wide Ganja Gap: These supplies will be a boon to southeastern Europe, which is currently almost percent dependent on the Russian pipelines. It is not just oil and gas pipelines that connect Europe with the heart of Asia. The second-longest European motorway, the E60, which connects Brest, France, on the Atlantic coast with Irkeshtam, Kyrgyzstan, on the Chinese border, passes through the city of Ganja, as does the east-west rail link in the South Caucasus, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway.
These are set to become potentially vital connections. The ongoing campaign in Afghanistan has also proven how important the Ganja Gap is for resupplying U. At the peak of the war, more than one-third of U. A consequence of this approach toward Islamabad might be that the existing ground and air routes through Pakistani territory, on which a majority of U. Islamabad has blocked supplies once before: A diplomatic controversy occurred when Iran's ambassador to Azerbaijan, Afshar Suleymanian Azeri himself, expressed indignation concerning the views of some speakers who advocated the union of "southern" and "northern" Azerbaijan.
Certain anti-Iran claims during an official seminar in Baku were harmful to relations between the two countries and were especially against the interests of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
The last time that a minister of the Azerbaijan republic referred to Iranian Azeri's in that manner, the representative of Ardabil province in the Iranian parliament protested. On December 20, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attended the opening ceremony of a new gas pipeline from Iran to Azerbaijan's landlocked Nakhchivan Autonomous Region, which is separated from the mainland of Azerbaijan by a strip of Armenian territory.
Nakhchivan has been cut off from gas supplies as a result of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Why the West Needs Azerbaijan – Foreign Policy
Under a year swap contract signed between the two countries in Augustthe new pipeline will supply the region with Iranian natural gas. Azerbaijan will also deliver its gas to Iran's northeastern provinces.
The volume of gas imports to Nakhchivan is expected to reach million cubic meters in and million cubic meters in On February 3, Azerbaijan's minister of communications and information technology, Ali Abbasovand the head of the Iranian State Broadcasting Agency, Ezzatollah Zarghamisigned a Memorandum of Understanding MoU on bilateral media cooperation. Previously, Azerbaijan urged Iran to cease its "broadcasting and unauthorized transmission of Iranian Sahar-2 television into Azerbaijan" and "criticized the Azeri-language broadcasts beamed into southern Azerbaijan for containing "anti-Azerbaijani propaganda" aimed at destabilizing the southern regions of the country, and faulted the Iranian government for "interference in Azerbaijan's internal affairs.
Iranian officials have claimed that the broadcasts are beyond their control, as Sahar-2 is a privately owned station and merely expresses "its own position" in its programs". Likewise, in a Washington Institute for Near East Policy analysis, analysts Soner Cagaptay and Alexander Murinson alluded to reports that Israeli intelligence maintains listening posts along the Azerbaijani border with Iran.
In Octoberaccording to Human Rights Watchan eight-and-a-half-year prison sentence was handed down to Eynulla Fatullayev, editor of Azerbaijan's two largest independent newspapers, for terrorism and other charges. The two were accused of receiving US dollars from Talish organizations in Iran after their newspaper published articles showing Persian poet Nizami and Iranian historical hero Babak Khoramdin as Talysh. The Iranian government summoned the Azeri ambassador to Tehran to protest the claims and called them "baseless" accusations.
Iran And Azerbaijan: A Contested Neighborhood
This has been perceived by many Iranians as a violation of Iranian territorial integrity and as an evidence that Azerbaijan Republic has claims on Iranian territory. In a meeting with U. This information came out in one of the released diplomatic cables of the United States diplomatic cables leak in November Iran had threatened to cut off the critical supply line between Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic if Azerbaijan lifts the visa requirements for the Turks, but does not extend the same privilege to Iranian citizens.
Azerbaijan—Israel relations Inthree men were detained by the Azerbaijan Ministry of National Security for planning to attack Israelis employed by a Jewish school in Baku.
Security officials in Baku linked Iran to the planned terror operation.
The men allegedly received smuggled arms and equipment from Iranian agents, possibly in retaliation to the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists.
Wafa Guluzade, a political commentator close to the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyevwarned Iran that "planning the murder of prominent foreign citizens in Azerbaijan by a band of terrorists, one of whom [Dadashov] resides in Iran, amounts to 'hostile activity' against our country.
S and Israeli embassies in Baku on behalf of neighboring Iran.Iran-Azerbaijan bilateral ties soar to a higher level
The ministry said that the suspects were recruited from onwards and trained in the use of weapons and spy techniques at military camps in Iran to enable them to gather information on foreign embassies, organizations and companies in Azerbaijan and stage attacks.
With the advent of Hassan Rouhani as president of Iran in laterelations between the two neighbouring countries have gradually but significantly improved. In the decades to come, this division would be interpreted as a tragedy by Azerbaijani patriots, a historical trauma to be remedied.
The Araxes River became a symbol of separation Ayriliq in Azerbaijani. Two centuries of separate existence have resulted in different mindsets between Azerbaijanis settled north of the river and their southern brethren. In the course of modern history, so- called Iranian Azerbaijan has quite often witnessed insurgencies.
The most notable unrest in the twentieth century occurred in and Iranian fears of irredentism by the Azerbaijani population of northwestern Iran caused Tehran to define a policy to address this ethnicity. In JanuarytheIranian Majles passed legislation creating a third province, with its capital city in Ardabil. In at least the initial period following the revolution, a decrease in Persian nationalism was evident.
Within the Iranian state, a general improvement of Persian-Azerbaijani relations occurred. Differences of language and ethnic origin ceased to play a key part; both nations came to recognize their shared Shia faith, which replaced Pan-Iranianism as the core of state ideology. Today, numerous senior positions in the Iranian government are filled by Azerbaijanis.
Nonetheless, some traces of political activity by South- ern Azerbaijanis are clearly visible. From a geopolitical perspective, the South Caucasus represents an important western flank in such a power struggle. There existed a bond — perceived particularly among the Azerbaijani population — of some form of Islamic solidarity.
Baku perceived Iran as a country inhabited by millions of Azerbaijanis that, should it not form a natural ally, would at least act as a pro-Azerbaijani mediator in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. Iranian missionaries significantly increased their activity in Azerbaijan, the volume of trade between the two countries reached unprecedented levels and visas were no longer needed for travel.
Iran And Azerbaijan: A Contested Neighborhood | Middle East Policy Council
Moreover, he displayed a complete lack of diplomatic tact and on many international occasions even betrayed a considerable optimism in the matter of the future unification of both Azerbaijans.
In his opinion, such unification was to take place in no more than five years. Iran, a country that had until that time, by statute, backed Islamic movements around the world, started to support Christian Armenia, which found itself at war with Shia Azerbaijan.
That, of course, involved assuming a certain distance from Turkey and the United States, which maintained a containment policy towards Iran. Aliyev made several personal visits to the country to demonstrate a changed course in Azerbaijani foreign policy and to assert the prominent position of Iran in its calculations. Then, in Aprila dramatic event occured that almost completely spoiled the positive developments in Iranian- Azerbaijani relations.
However, after only a few months April 6,NIOC was expelled from the consortium, when the treaty was cancelled due to strong opposition from the U. A law passed by Congress ruled that no U. Azerbaijan thus had no option but to accede to U. Iranian-Azerbaijani relations thus reached the freezing point. The consortium treaty may not come to force… unless the status of the Caspian Sea is decided. After the Russian government started becoming less fixated on the legal status of the Caspian Sea, which led it to conclude treaties with Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan on sectoral divisions — along with an Azerbaijan- Kazakhstan agreement and the retreat of Turkmenistan to more defensive positions — Iran gradually found itself isolated.
Tehran decided to retaliate by provoking a maritime incident in the Araz-Sharg-Alov area. Second, the conflict has been crucial to the geopolitical constellation in the entire Caspian region, of which Iran is one of the foremost actors. These services were particularly needed in 92; nonetheless, in the opinion of Abdallah Ramezanzade, Iran mobilized its efforts only after Armenian troops reached the Azerbaijani-Iranian border at the Araxes. Their further advance to the east might have caused not only a tremendous flow of refugees across the river, but even the collapse of the Azerbaijani state.
These concerns forced Iran and Turkey, in a rather unprecedented act of cooperation, to jointly seek UN Security Council intervention to halt the Armenian military actions. InIran thus started to realize that there existed a threat to its territorial integrity coming from the north.
Although there is no universal agreement on this matter, the chain of events in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict provides ample material for such a conclusion. Let us consider, for instance, what happened in October Many thousands of Azerbaijanis did, in fact, cross the river to a warm welcome by their brethren.
Such common experiences would, of course, increase the nationalist spirit among Southern Azerbaijanis, a situation Tehran was eager to avoid. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict did, however, resonate to some extent with Iranian public opinion.