"By making efforts to achieve peaceful settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the United States could help Azerbaijan and Armenia, and at the same time weaken the anti-American regime in Iran", Cohen writes in one of his latest articles ‘Azerbaijan and US interests" published in Caucasus International.
Officially, Iran holds a neutral position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the author claims. However, unofficially Iran is interested in keeping Azerbaijan embroiled in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.
"It makes the country less attractive to the Iranian Azerbaijani minority, and switches the focus from the campaign for autonomy of South Azerbaijan, which may lead to demands for independence by the predominantly Azeri northwestern areas of Iran," he writes in his article.
Iran raises great concern in Washington in the context of security. Iran already has a significant military superiority over its neighbors in the Persian Gulf, says Cohen. Iranian intelligence is active in the Shiite areas of Lebanon, Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Azerbaijan.
"If Iran succeeds in developing nuclear weapons, it will gain the regional dominance in the Middle East, and will turn into a threat to US allies such as Israel, Egypt and Southern Europe", the article says.
Iran today is likely to endanger the world economy by closing the Strait of Hormuz, the main transport corridor through which oil from the Persian Gulf countries is supplied abroad, including to the United States.
Russia's position in the South Caucasus
Security is one of the three strategic interests that form a basis for the US foreign policy in the South Caucasus region. Security in South Caucasus is promoted by a balance of power in Eurasia and the Middle East, says Cohen. The author lists energy and democracy as the rest priorities.
For the Russian Federation, South Caucasus remains a priority even after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the weakening of Russian influence on the peripheries of the former Soviet empire, the article says.
Strengthening of Russia's influence in the South Caucasus is the main concern for the United States. According to Cohen, beginning from the mid 1990s, Russia maintains the so-called multipolar world order, while at the same time, carrying a thinly veiled attempt to weaken US influence in international affairs.
Under the slogan "multi-polarity" Moscow is trying to legitimize the efforts to restore "privileged sphere of influence" in the former Soviet Union, Cohen writes.
"Despite the Obama administration's attempts to ‘reset’ the frayed US-Russian relations, the security interests of the two powers seem still clashing in the South Caucasus", Cohen says.