The phantom of Armenia's isolation: Azerbaijan-Iran railway launched

Wed 14 Feb 2018 06:16 GMT | 10:16 Local Time

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Armenia's 1in.am has published an article headlined 'The phantom of Armenia's isolation: Azerbaijan-Iran railway launched'.

News.Az presents the translated version of the article:

On February 8 the first test train consisting of six carriages loaded with Russian timber and MDF from Russia reached Iran via the Astara-Astara railway, which unites and integrates the railways of Azerbaijan and Iran. The full-scale commissioning of the railway is expected in March this year. The Astara (Iran) - Astara (Azerbaijan) railway will be officially opened in March this year at a ceremony to be attended by officials from Iran and Azerbaijan.

The length of the road is 10 km, of which 8 km extend from the city of Astara to the border with Iran, and 2 km from the border to the Iranian city of Astara. It is the continuation of the Kazvin-Rasht railway and part of the "North-South" project, thanks to which, in fact, the integration of the railway systems of Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran takes place. The Iranian news agency IRNA circulated noteworthy information, saying that Baku, Moscow and Tehran are currently in active talks in connection with the launch of passenger trains on the route Azerbaijani Astara-Moscow.

Abbas Nazari, Director General for International Affairs of the Iranian Railways, said that all countries in the region have already been notified of this ambitious tripartite railway program. Nazari said that European countries show great interest in the Astara-Astara railway corridor, through which their goods can be delivered to the Persian Gulf and India.

Thus, a new perspective cooperation platform is being formed in the region - with the participation of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia, which is strengthened through the summits of the presidents of the three countries held from time to time. This project, in which Azerbaijan has a central role, further emphasizes the political and economic isolation of Armenia.

Baku official circles do not conceal the fact that the "North-South" project is tempting for them not only in the economic, but also in the political context, because Armenia is out of the way of regional cooperation. It is noteworthy that such global programs will gradually zero Armenia’s relevance for Iran, which, in fact, finds alternatives for access to the European and Russian markets, namely, through the territory of Azerbaijan. Moreover, Tehran repeatedly hinted in recent years that in their global communication projects Armenia is considered to be a reliable partner. But the reaction of our authorities is, to put it mildly, inadequate, and Tehran can not wait indefinitely, when Yerevan will be able to overcome the prohibitions of Russian pressure.
This will irreversibly fix Armenia's humiliating status of the so-called Russian sub-state, as a result of which the country loses its subjectivity and knocks out of participation in almost all regional integration projects.

On the other hand, for Armenia, this  stalemate context reveals the inconsistency of the Karabakh policy of the country. The policy that is based on the maintenance of the status quo is in fact not rational, since the status quo is not only and not so much a balance formed on the front line or in the military plane, but also a comparison of the indicators of economic development of Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as demographic statistics. The presence of Karabakh conflict and closed borders increase Armenia's dependence on Russia, stifle its economy depriving it of a development resource. In this context, Azerbaijan becomes a key actor in all regional projects, which will inevitably lead to uneven development of the economies of both countries, not in favor of Armenia.

Having billions of dollars in incomes, Azerbaijan will become a threat to the devastated Armenia. Not accepting this axiomatic fact speaks of the inadequacy, irrationality of our state, political systems. The effectiveness of the policy of Armenian authorities must be displayed not in delaying the negotiation process, but an early settlement of the conflict, based on rational compromises.

Time does not wait, it works against Armenia. It is necessary to soberly assess the situation in order to get the most out of the negotiation process.

News.Az

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