Politics 16:15 09/12/2022 Region

Armenian expert: Azerbaijani-Turkish duo will not dare to cross Araks River

Panorama.am has talked to Iran specialist Vardan Voskanyan, the head of the Chair of Iranian Studies at Yerevan State University (YSU), about the ongoing Turkish-Azerbaijani joint military exercises along Azerbaijan's border with Iran, their rhetoric and possible response from Iran.

Panorama.am: Azerbaijan does not hide that the key messages of the Turkish-Azerbaijani drills are addressed to Iran. Pro-government media reports suggest that the troops may cross the Araks River if necessary. How realistic are these threats?

Vardan Voskanyan: Obviously, neither Azerbaijan nor the Azerbaijani-Turkish tandem will dare to cross the Araks. It would amount to an invasion of Iranian territory with all the ensuing consequences, including missile attacks on the Absheron Peninsula. Azerbaijan and Turkey would not go for it, but they could spread such reports in an effort to step up propaganda pressure on Iran.

Panorama.am: How does Iran respond to such military exercises and statements?

Vardan Voskanyan: It’s worth noting that in Iran, both among society and various government circles, there are no illusions about the possibility to build good friendly relations with Azerbaijan. Toughening of rhetoric to some extent in diplomacy can be expected. Meanwhile, the Iranians will take practical steps to weaken as much as possible the artificial entity called Azerbaijan, using all the levers that Iran has inside this "state". It’s about the Shiite groups, the indigenous peoples of Iran as well as the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.

Therefore, Iran won’t respond to it with an impetuous step, but will draw out a long-range plan aimed at countering all threats from Azerbaijan as well as deepening relations with Armenia in all areas, from the military sphere to propaganda.

An excellent opportunity has emerged for Armenia and Iran to essentially form different cooperation platforms, since both Armenia and Iran as well as Russia are facing common challenges and risks. For example, some kind of Armenian-Iranian counter terrorism platform could be formed which would develop into military cooperation. I believe Iran is extremely interested in it. Obviously, the Iranians seek closer cooperation with Armenia, including in the military-political sphere, so we should seize the existing opportunities to counter the imminent threats. Azerbaijan’s ruling regime will not calm down until, in fact, Armenia’s resistance capacities are zeroed out, it will try to constantly keep Armenia in vassal dependence.

Thank God we have allies both in the region, including Iran and Russia, and beyond it, namely Greece. In other words, there is a wide field of activity, which, of course, requires hard work, but it will be worth the result we can achieve

Panorama.am: Does Armenia realize the importance of deepening ties with Iran?

Vardan Voskanyan: You know, as a specialist I follow the developments related to Iran. Iran is obviously inclined to deepen strategic cooperation with Armenia in a number of spheres, including the military one. This cooperation can also be in the form of a tacit alliance, that is, not by wordy statements, but by real actions. I believe right now it is necessary to make major efforts in this regard in order to ensure Armenia's security, since it concerns the vital interests of the Republic of Armenia and, in general, to our viability and existence. Therefore, this direction is extremely important and requires effective steps, taking into consideration the level of the Iranian-Russian relations. In all probability, a tacit alliance has already been formed here, and Armenia can become a platform for trilateral cooperation.

Interview by Lala Ter-Ghazaryan

Source Panorama.am
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