In the second week of the conflict in the Nagorno Karabakh region, and in conjunction with the escalation of the two sides, Iran changed its neutral stance, or rather clarified its position, by calling for the withdrawal of Armenia from the occupied territories in Azerbaijan, contrary to the expectations of analysts who favored Iran’s support for Yerevan.
In this regard, Ali Akbar Velayati, advisor for international affairs to the Iranian guide, called on Tuesday, “to return the occupied areas to Azerbaijan, and the return of more than a million Azeris to their regions after they were displaced from it after the occupation of Armenia.”
Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei and Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh also stressed the need to respect the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, end Armenia’s occupation of the Karabakh region, and resolve this issue permanently, not temporarily.
The influence of public opinion
Political analyst Dr. Shuaib Bahman believes that the neutrality of the Iranian position is due to the short duration of the conflict in previous wars, and thus its weak influence on public opinion.
But this time, with the continuation and escalation of the conflict, according to Bahman, public opinion demanded Iran to take a clear stance, along with the Azerbaijani media provoking its Azerbaijani audience in Iran (the largest nationality in Iran after the Persians, from 14 to 16 million people).
Bahman added in his speech to Al-Jazeera Net, saying that the Iranian authorities’ statements that the Armenian occupation must end, is limited to only 7 occupied Azeri cities, not the entire Karabakh region. “Given the complexity of Karabakh’s problems, the solution is not so simple and requires time and constant dialogue,” he said.
Russian Iranian line-up
According to experts, Iran’s support for Azerbaijan coincides with the Kremlin’s statement that Russia’s obligations to Armenia are not in line with Nagorny Karabakh, and this alignment between Iran and Russia is putting pressure on Armenia to end the occupation of Azeri lands, and thus end the conflict that has been going on for 3 decades, which the Minsk group was unable to resolve.
An Israeli-Turkish presence
A university professor and expert on Central Asian affairs, Turg Atabke, believes that the reason for Iran’s proximity to Azerbaijan is the superiority of the Azerbaijani army on the battlefield, Russia’s failure to protect Armenia in Karabakh, as well as Iran’s desire to prevent other countries, such as Israel and Turkey, from infiltrating the northern borders of their country. ; Because the expansion of the war will double the presence of the two countries even more, and could extend to Azeri regions in Iran, he said.
On the other hand, the presence of Iran alongside Turkey encourages Ankara to facilitate trade exchanges with Iran in light of economic sanctions, and thus the gain remains Iranian on both sides.
According to Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh, Iran has prepared a project to solve the crisis in Karabakh, and given the Iranian mediation in recent years, in addition to the statements of officials in recent days, it is possible to guess what distinguishes Iran’s comprehensive plan to solve this crisis according to the following:
An immediate ceasefire in the disputed areas, and avoiding any provocative action.
Withdrawal of Armenian forces from the southern parts of the Azerbaijan Republic, including 7 cities and their environs.
After that, according to United Nations resolutions, the Armenians living in and around the seven cities will leave; So that about a million Azerbaijani refugees could return to their homes.
Experts believe that this plan opens the way for a positive presence of all countries except for the Zionist entity, in order to accelerate the process of calm and establish lasting peace in the region, and condemns the opening of military forces from a third country and terrorist groups to the region.
They point out that, given the military superiority of Azerbaijan in this round of battles, the advancement of its army in the occupied areas, as well as the decline in support of the countries of the region to Armenia, the latter will be forced in the coming days to withdraw from the occupied Azerbaijani cities, and the settlement of the Karabakh conflict will be postponed until future talks. What will satisfy Azerbaijan?