The interests and role of Iran and Russia in the resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Aftermaths of Karabakh war of 2020
Petrosyan A.A. The interests androle of Iran and Russia in the resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Aftermaths ofKarabakh war of 2020. Key words: Nagorno-Karabakh war, Armenia, Iran, Russia, Cooperation, security issues, conflicts. Annotation: The outcome of the Karabakh war of 2020 brought new vision into the strategies of Iran & Russia towards the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The increasing role of Turkey, the presence of mercenary-terrorists in the region and redrawing of the factual boundaries have turned Nagorno-Karabakh into a geopolitically unstable region. It’s necessary for Moscow & Teheran to revise their approaches towards the region. Both of them have their interests and role in the conflict. The article aims at understanding them in the consequences of Karabakh war of 2020. Since 1994 Teheran has been showing very balanced approach towards the conflict, however the war which erupted in 2020 has brought its on corrections in its vision. Aside from the corrections which will be detailed below it’s necessary to understand the unique role & position of Iran in the resolution ofthe conflict: 1) Iran, until recently, remained the only country which had a border with conflicting parties: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh. 2) The status quo shattered by the outbreak of the war brought security issues to Iran. The presence of mercenary-terrorists , deployed by Turkey , poses a direct threat to Iran through the creation of instability pockets in its north-eastern borders. Ankara’s unconditional support forAzerbaijan has accelerated Turkish-Azeri Tandem which will develop unpredictable scenarios against Iran’s interests in the region. 3) The huge Azerbaijani community in Iran(approx. 20 million) and the Shia religion band together peoples of Iran and Azerbaijan in some kind of solidarity and brotherhood.That’s one of the main reasons why Teheran throughout years supported territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, however keeping balanced relations both with Armenia and Azerbaijan. The credit goes to Iran’s diplomacy which could implement the balanced approach. 4) Iran never tolerated any possible presence of trans-regional powers (e.g. USA, NATO) in the region. “Iran believes that the Karabakh crisis should also be resolved with the political will of Armenia and Azerbaijan” . 5) In continuation of the 4th point Iran is among the rear countries, which supported specifically Russian mediatory actions and always supported regional powers for greater engagement in the settlement of the conflict. In this context Russia stays as a regional player. Nonetheless, the support of regional powers (in this case - Russia) and vivid attempts to prevent the spreading of the further influence of Ankara brings on all the sensitivity and complexity of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. 6) Iran has two-dimensional approach towards Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Internal dimension - "the importance of this question among the people of Northwestern Iran who call themselves Azerbaijani and feel an affinity with the Republic of Azerbaijan" and external dimension - "the importance of security and good neighborliness with northern borders" . Teheran still is very careful and attentive about Azeri-Israel military cooperation Taking into consideration the abovementioned points Iran understands the necessity to have proactive South Caucasus policy .Before the war “Ithas been elevating relations with Armenia without touching the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict while Azerbaijan had active contacts with the Western and Arab partners. It concerned also Israel-Azerbaijani contacts which according to Teheran couldundermine its bilateral relations with Baku” . Besides, the growing role and control of Turkey over Azerbaijan (through the victory in the war) pushes Teheran to have thoroughly calculated approach to the conflict. For the time being it seems that Iran will fully support Russian peacekeepers, excluding any potential military presence of Turkey in South Caucasus. In some way the reinforcement of Moscow in the region means that the coincidence of interests in one case might unite Iran and Russia in greater diplomatic and political struggle against USA (generally West)in other regions. It’s important to understand that in 90’s regardless of Iranian efforts to stop first Karabakh war- it lost the credibility specifically in the eyes of Azerbaijani people . Currently Azerbaijanhaving reached success in the war thanks to Turkey, will be more loyal to her, which directly threatens Iranian interests in the region. The presence of Armenian troops in Iran’snorthwestern borders played in the hands of Iran because the buffer zone between Azerbaijani community and the Republic of Azerbaijan was present . Nowadays unstable situation in the northwestern part threatens national security of Teheran and makes her rethink of its relations with Baku not only because of the mercenary –terroristsand unconditional support of Turkey but also because of the direct links of Baku with Iranian region of East Azerbaijan. The attractiveness of Russian position in the resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict consists of good relations both with Armenia and Azerbaijan and step by step approach to the regulation alongside the consensus within the Minsk group . The outcome of the Nagorno-Karabakh war of 2020 showed the dominant role of Russia both during peace and wartimes. 1) Unlike Iran,Russia has shown the effectiveness of its mediator role at least trice: during the First Karabakh war, April escalation of 2016 and Second Karabakh war of 2020. 2) Since 1994 “Russia has been willing to serve as a mediator and broker rather than supporter of one of the sides” . The huge communities both of Armenians and Azerbaijanis in Russia,deep military and economic cooperation with Yerevan and Baku made the case for Russia to stay neutral. 3) The presence of Russian peacekeepers proves the dominant role of Moscow in the conflict regulation while the mediatory actions of France and USA remain of secondary importance. 4) Turkey, despite the membership in the monitoring mission in Karabakh, couldn’t reach the final goal of the war- dominance in the region. Moscow remained the main obstacle for her. 5) Nothing about Minsk group of OSCE is mentioned in Russian-led trilateral agreement of 10thNovember . The total control of Russia over post-war period in Artsakhseems to show the irrelevance not only of the Minsk group format per se but also USA and Franceseparately in the resolution of the conflict. 6) The main feature of this cooperation(Turkey-Russia – author’s note) is the preference for bilateral coordination without Western states . In order to understand why Russia has a dominant role in the conflict generally and post-war peace process regulations specifically we should look at the following facts: 1) Karabakh Armenians existence is fully secured by Russian peacekeeping contingent. 2) Armenian borders both with Turkey and Azerbaijan are policed by Russian 102th military base and FSB respectively. 3) The safe trip via Lachin corridor to Karabakh is provided by Russian peacekeepers. The hostage exchangeshave been organized by Moscow, which has become first among many future possible dialogues between Yerevan and Baku on certain issues. The large postwar restoration of civil infrastructure in Artsakh alongside humanitarian loads are organized and provided by Russian government. For Azerbaijan: 1) No chance to violate status-quo as it did by initiating the war. Besides the growing authority in the conflict resolution Moscow has all mechanisms to prevent any kind of aggression or violation of current peace processes. 2) The final status issue of Artsakh, despite Azerbaijani President I. Aliev’s permanent statements , isn’t resolved. That leaves room for maneuvering. The occupation of Hadrut region and city of Shushi by Azerbaijan gives Armenian party good ground to negotiate alongside with Russia within Minsk group. If negotiated well Yerevan can demand the return of Hadrut and Shushi which have been occupied by Baku in result of the war. 3) The Nakhichevan corridor which will pass through the territory of Armenia will be controlled by Russian FSB. By cooperating with two sides Russia seeks to provide firstly balance between Armenia and Azerbaijan and by the developing cooperation with them tries to neutralize the influence of the West . “Russia has played its hand skillfully and reasserted its role in the region in a decisive manner. How would Russia perceive such an initiative from Turkey?” . Uncertainties about future role of Turkey give food for thought. How acceptable will be for Russia the possible opening of the border between Turkey and Armenia? Will Russia tolerate future development of Turkish-Azeri tandem in South Caucasus? Many questions are there to be answered. So Iran and Moscow have their specific roles in the conflict: 1) Geographical proximity coupled with geopolitical interests increases the necessityin having stable region. The ex-status-quototally played into their hands because of thestable relations with Armenia and Armenians of Artsakh.The same is not truefor Azerbaijan due to the mercenaries and the return of Turkey to the region, which is considered by both of them(i.e. Iran and Russia)as the geopolitical rival. 2) The experience in Syrian Civil War accompanied by the mutual interests showed that: “Teheran and Moscow have also feared the spread of Sunni fundamentalism and support mutual goals regarding energy routes in the region. In 2016, Moscow obtained permission to use Iranian air-bases, as the Hamadan air-base, to launch airstrikes against rebel forces in Syria” .The dialogue continued in Karabakh war of 2020 when both sides acted in unison. 3) Iran and Russia remain the only countries which have good relations both with Armenia and Azerbaijan. Their constructive & stabilizing role in the conflict alongside the balanced & equidistance approach reaffirms the paramount role of both sides in peace-keeping processes. 4) Both of the parties see each other’s approach to the conflict as mutually reinforcing. Iran considers the direct interference of Turkey as one of the main threats because it will lead to the presence of great powers in the region(i.e. USA) and will discredit Iran’s role as a regional authority.Iran sees the regulation of the conflict only within the internal players of the region . This is unacceptable also for Russia due to the main contradictions which it has with USA not only in the South Caucasusbut in other regions also. 5) The trilateral agreement between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia cools off the Azerbaijani community both in Iran and Russia, which throughout decades have demanded full support to Azerbaijan. 6) Both Russia and Iran have been expressing their adherence to the territorial integrity of Bakuwithout clarifying their position of the status of the Nagorno-Karabakh. Thus, room for maneuvering still remains. 7) Moscow and Teheran fully understand that the deblocking of communication, apart from practical difficulties of its implementation, between Yerevan and Baku will lead to the diminishment of their leverage on both parties. It remains uncertain what will happen after the possible regime change in Armenia will take place. Meanwhile Alievregime, which is at itsapogee, leaves predictability in actions in positive way. 8) Iran and Russia seek to more intensive policy in the South Caucasus to deepen their relations with Armenia and Azerbaijan so their influence and leverages grow in numbers. 9) For the time being there are three blocks in postwar period: EU-USA, Armenia-Iran- Russia and Turkey-Azerbaijan. Both parties (i.e. Iran and Russia) understand that key to dominance in the region is the control over Nagorno-Karabakh and mediation role in its resolution. For now, Russia holds that position, having full support of Iran. The outbreak of new war is less likely in mid-term;however, some serious geopolitical changes are to come. The main goals for both Russia and Iran are: 1) Preserving status-quo 2) Minimizing the role of West in the conflict solution 3) Keeping an eye on Turkey not to let her become strong and influential in the region. References. 1. Council of the European Union. Special European Council - 1 October 2020 (Day 1). Access: 2. Isachenko D. Turkey–Russia Partnership in the War over Nagorno-Karabakh. StiftungWissenschaft und Politik, 2020. P 4. 3. Kaleji V. Eight Principles of Iran’s Foreign Policy towards the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict. Valdai Discussion Club. 2020. Kazemzadeh H. Nagorno-Karabakh and Iranian Public and Foreign Policy // EVN report. 2020. 4. Kirisci K., Ozkan B. After Russia’s Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire, could Turkey step up next for a lasting peace? // Brookings. 2020. 5. Lengruber V. The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: Potential Implications for the Russian- Iranian Relationship // Working Group at the Volgograd Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation. Petropolis Catholic University (Brazil). 2020. 6. Mamedov E. How Iran views the Nagorno-Karabakh truce. Eurasianet news organization. 2020. 7. Povazan M. Russia’s Foreign Policy Towards and Influence on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict // Russian International Affairs Council. 2020. 8. Ruptly. Syria: Assad calls Erdogan 'main instigator' of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.2020. Access: 9. Sherr J. Russia and Karabakh: A Diplomatic Triumph and Dubious Victory. // The International Centre for Defence and Security. 2020 10. Sushentsov A. The Risk of a Big War in the South Caucasus and Russia's Position. Valdai Discussion Club. 2020. Kirisci K., Ozkan B. After Russia’s Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire, could Turkey step up next for a lasting peace? // Brookings. 2020. 11. U.S. Department of State. Secretary Michael R. Pompeo at a Press Availability. 14.10.2020. Access : 12. Агаджанян М. Роль России и Ирана в урегулировании карабахского конфликта // Регион и мир. No 1. 2010. С. 1. 13. В Кремле по инициативе Владимира Путина состоялись трёхсторонние переговоры Президента Российской Федерации, Президента Азербайджанской Республики Ильхама Алиева и Премьер-министра Республики Армения Никола Пашиняна. Итоги встречи на пресс брифинге. Ссылка доступа: 14. Гладкин Ю.А. Ирано-азербайджанские отношения: посредничество Ирана в решении проблемы Нагорного Карабаха // Политические науки. РГСУ. 2018. 15. Краснов О., Джалилов Р. Аналитики указали на отличие интересов Ирана от Турции в разрешении конфликта в Карабае. Кавказский Узел. 2020. Доступ: 16. МаркедоновС.М.Россия в процессе нагорно-карабахского урегулирования.Федеральное государственное автономное образовательное учреждение высшего образования «Российский университет дружбы народов» Кафедра теории и истории международных отношений: 30-летие конфликта в Нагорном Карабахе.С. 22-24. 17. Месамедов В.И. Иран и Нагорно-Карабахски конфликт // Институт Ближнего Востока. 2013. 18. Министерство иностранных дел Российской Федерации. Комментарий Департамента информации и печати МИД России относительно переброски иностранных наемников в зону нагорно-карабахского конфликта. 2020. Ссылка доступа: 19. Речь Президента Ильхама Алиева на заседании по видеосвязи Совета глав государств СНГ. Ссылка доступа: 20. Сидоров Д.А. Нагорно-Карабахский конфликт после Бархатной революции в Армении. Федеральное государственное автономное образовательное учреждение высшего образования «Российский университет дружбы народов» Кафедра теории и истории международных отношений: 30-летие конфликта в Нагорном Карабахе. С 62-69. 21. Служба внешней разведки Российской Федерации. О ситуации вокруг Нагорного Карабаха. 2020. Ссылка доступа: 22. Կարապետյան Ռ.ԻրանիԻսլամականՀանրապետությանդիրքորոշումըԼեռնայինՂարաբաղիհիմնախնդրում | «ԼՂՀ (Արցախի) 25-ամյա պետականությանձեռքբերումներնուարդիմարտահրավերները» միջազգայիներիտասարդականգիտաժողովինյութերիժողովածու: 2016թ․, 175-180 էջ.
1095 reads | 15.12.2022

Copyright © 2023 tel.: +37491206460, +37499409028 e-mail: