Is Iran a friend or an enemy to Azerbaijan? If one is to believe the official statements, then it is a friend, but the realities that contradict the official rhetoric indicate the opposite.
For many years, Iran has strongly supported Armenia, which invaded and for many years has been keeping under occupation the Azerbaijani territories. Moreover, information is surfacing about delivery of fuel by Iranian trucks to occupied Karabakh and creation of businesses by Iranian citizens in the Armenian controlled areas. In recent years, more and more information has emerged that the neighboring Iran, which is a Muslim country and which positions itself as a friend of Azerbaijan, serves as a transit point for the delivery of weapons and military equipment to Armenia. To further illustrate the point, we provide below some actual facts about the anti-Azerbaijani activities of Iran …
In accordance with the Iranian-Armenian project, on November 8, 2012 a solemn ceremony of laying the foundation of a hydroelectric power plant on the Araz River took place in the vicinity of Meghri in Armenia. The project involves the construction of two powerful hydroelectric power plants, which will be located on the Armenian and Iranian banks of the Araz River. Construction on both banks commenced simultaneously.
The project is funded by the Iranian side. For these purposes, a loan has been granted to Yerevan. Armenia will repay the loan within 15 years with the electricity generated by the hydroelectric power plant, and after the repayment, the plant will be transferred to Armenia.
In May this year, it became public that in the future, the Khudaferin and Gyz Galasy hydroelectric complexes built by Azerbaijan and Iran could be used by Armenia and the separatist regime in Nagorno-Karabakh. However, official Baku categorically stated that this was impossible until the liberation of the Azerbaijani lands from occupation.
After the public discontent in the country, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry and the Iranian officials issued statements about the bridges that Iran built across the Araz River in the occupied Jabrail region.
According to official Tehran, the agreement on the construction of the hydroelectric power station was reached during the visit to Iran of the Minister of Economic Development of Azerbaijan Shahin Mustafayev. The agreement provided for the construction of the Khudaferin hydroelectric power plant and the Giz Galasy hydroelectric complex on the Araz River. Therefore, the bridges were constructed as part of these works.
And a video emerged in the winter of this year, showing Iranian trucks, which were delivering fuel and food to the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. The Iranian Embassy in Azerbaijan did everything possible to suppress this evidence. The embassy called the video footage a fake aimed at driving a wedge between two friendly countries.
Thus, the embassy accused Armenians of manipulation and called the video a fake. However, it was obvious that the footage was recent. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Armenia closed its borders with neighboring states, but the traffic between Armenia and Iran was never interrupted.
In addition, last fall the names of 80 Iranian companies investing in Nagorno-Karabakh were made public. Official Tehran has not yet made any statements about any actions taken against these companies.
After hostilities on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border erupted on July 17 – August 12 as result of Armenian provocations, Russia started intensively transport military supplies to Armenia. The Azerbaijani government brought to the attention of Russian President Vladimir Putin its concerns and inquiries about such actions of the strategic partner.
During the telephone conversation, President Ilham Aliyev revealed transportation of over 400 tons of military cargo from Russia through the airspaces of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran to Armenia immediately after the armed clashes on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
Meanwhile, on September 6, more information surfaced about the transportation of weapons from Iran to Armenia.
The international community has already been notified of the arms trade between Iran and Armenia. Information about arms smuggling by Armenia was provided in the book “Narco-Karabakh” by British author Harrold Cane. The book was published in 2019. The author identified Samvel Babayan, a representative of the separatist regime in Nagorno-Karabakh, as one of the notable members of this criminal network. The British researcher noted that with the participation of S. Babayan, weapons were delivered from Armenia to other countries through the territories of Georgia and Iran.
Official Yerevan has not yet responded to the accusations of arms smuggling and delivery of weaponry to the occupant country from Iran. The Armenian press regarded the refutation of the Iranian embassy issued on September 7 as a sort of a “warning” to Azerbaijan.
The information about the arms supply is certainly accurate, otherwise the official Yerevan would have long ago helped its partner and friend to get out of the delicate situation. Armenia’s reluctance to refute the information about arms supply puts Iran at risk. Apparently, this situation suits Armenia. In this regard, the statement of the Iranian Embassy in Azerbaijan can be considered incomplete…
On September 7, President Ilham Aliyev accepted the credentials of the newly appointed Iranian ambassador to Azerbaijan, Seyid Abbas Musevi. The meeting took place without an interpreter, as the ambassador is fluent in Azerbaijani. It is not surprising, because more than half of the Iranian population speaks fluent Azerbaijani. And this is despite the fact, that in Iran the Azerbaijani language is not taught, unlike the Armenian.
Clearly, if there is political will and desire, it is possible to discuss any problem without the interference of a third party.
By Sadraddin İmailov