Iranian authorities have always been duplicitous towards Azerbaijan - analyst
In a conversation with Haqqin.az Iranian political analyst Reza Talebi presented his arguments and evidence of the Iranian authorities' always duplicitous attitude towards Azerbaijan.
News.Az presents his comment:
"Ordinary Iranians understand perfectly well that friendship with Israel, which is a member of the UN, has diplomatic relations with Turkey, the UAE, Kazakhstan, all Turkic CIS countries and other states, is the sovereign right of Azerbaijan.
And by the way, for some reason, the Iranian authorities did not see Israel as an enemy when they resorted to its help. In spite of its bitter antipathy, Iran bought American weapons with the help of Tel Aviv in 1986 to confront Saddam Hussein's army. Tehran may have forgotten, but the world remembers the Iran-Contra affair or "Irangate" as it was called when Ayatollah Khomeini arranged with Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres and Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy to secretly supply the Islamic Republic with American weapons to circumvent the embargo. Even earlier, in 1981, Tehran had given the Israelis a map of Iraq's nuclear facilities. Thus the Iranians helped the Israeli air force to destroy the nuclear reactor near Baghdad. Khomeini even provided the Israelis with an airport near Tabriz as a backup, and the Israeli military carried out preparations there for the legendary operation codenamed "Opera".
This was not the first time, by the way, that Iran had brought troops to the Azerbaijani border. I personally witnessed it. First, it did this during the 44-day war. I have seen for myself what kind of equipment was brought to the Azerbaijani border. As a radar engineer by training, I can responsibly say that the Iranian system of electronic warfare (EWC) and equipment for wiretapping of radio communications of the Azerbaijani army were brought to the Azerbaijani border.
The Iranian military was pursuing several goals. Firstly, to pass intelligence obtained by wiretapping to the Armenian side, and secondly, to test their electronic warfare system against the drones used by the Azerbaijani army. In other words, they wanted to help the Armenian military and try to land Turkish and Israeli UAVs on their territory and study the technology in detail. But they failed to land Bayraktar and Harrop. The helplessness of the Iranian EWR system has deeply disappointed the military command and the Iranian government. The Azerbaijani army's smashing to pieces of Armenian tanks, artillery, missile systems, and air defense systems was watched in horror not only in Yerevan but also in Tehran, which is armed with the same modernized Soviet junk. Even the Iranian army has American-made F-4 and F-5 aircraft from the mid-1970s. It turns out that the Iranian army can repeat the fate of the Armenian army with the war with Azerbaijan... Turkish and Israeli weapons have shown not just their epochal superiority, but the deep technical backwardness of Iran's military arsenal.
Tehran's fears are related not only to the strengthening of Azerbaijan but also to the possibility of a pro-Western bias in Armenia. It is clear that Nikol Pashinyan is a pro-Western politician, and sooner or later he will start to bring Armenia closer to the U.S. and Europe. Peace in Karabakh unleashes Pashinyan's geopolitical orientation.
Moreover, Iran suspects that Armenia is increasingly inclined to cooperate with Turkey and Azerbaijan. This would mean that Yerevan would be lifted from its blockade and Tehran's special influence on it would end. Meanwhile, it was Armenia that helped Iran circumvent U.S. sanctions for many years.
Everything is also quite clear with the Zangezur road. Its opening will be a key link in the transcontinental transport route, in which such economic giants as the EU and China are very interested. And Iran had hopes of having some economic preferences in this corridor, the importance of which in Tehran is well calculated. Therefore, Iran seeks all sorts of imaginary excuses such as "our border is threatened by the Zionists" to cast doubt on the security of the Zangezur road. This is such a deliberate policy of IRI to torpedo the issue of its opening.
While Tehran is alarmed at the prospect of losing its role for Armenia, the Middle East is moving away from the ayatollahs' influence. By the way, the scandal that broke out in Yerevan over the registration of numerous fictitious airlines in the country is directly related to the Armenian assistance to IRI in circumventing sanctions. Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon recently reached an agreement on gas transit for the first time, which was approved by Washington. That is, Iran is losing leverage over two key Middle Eastern allies - Syria and Lebanon. Iran invested billions of dollars to help Assad and strengthen Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Information attack on Azerbaijan looks absurd also because Baku always votes against anti-Iranian resolutions in international organizations. And it was Azerbaijan that donated 5 million euros to Iran to combat the coronavirus. Not to mention the provision of $500 million for the construction of a railroad inside Iran. By the way, Armenia has yet to pay Iran $200 million of the debt for gas supplies. But Iranian officials prefer to keep silent about this, and rant about ethnic closeness with Armenians and friendship with Armenia as a counterbalance to Turkey's influence.
Iran, before the Second Karabakh War, clearly hoped to turn Azerbaijan into a satellite country by exporting an Islamic revolution or at least to strengthen its influence so that Tehran's opinion would be decisive for Baku. The fact that the office of Ocag Necat, the representative of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was closed in Baku is a necessary and important step to ensure the country's security.
Long before the current tensions in relations, the Iranian security services had been trying to destabilize Azerbaijan by using the ethnic, sectarian and religious factor. They were sending missionaries and various types of recruiters to create something similar to Lebanon's Hezbollah in its neighbors. It didn't work. Then they began to ideologically brainwash the young Azerbaijani citizens who were receiving religious education in Qom. It should be noted that people often come to Qom who are absolutely sincere in their desire to study religion and become mullahs. But the Iranian authorities chose them as a target group of future conductors of their interests in various Muslim countries. So Baku should be more cautious about the trips of Azerbaijani youth to Qom.
These young people are clearly indoctrinated that Azerbaijan is a "Yazidi", "tyrannical" state hated by Shiism and their mission is to lead the country to the right path of Huseynism. That is to bring Azerbaijan to the bosom of the policy of Iran, which considers itself an outpost of Shiism. By the way, some time ago in Iraq it was realized that in the Iranian madrassahs the foreigners risk to get under the political and ideological pressure of Tehran and it was decided to ban the studies there and to get religious education only in Iraq.
Now, the Iranian media is claiming that the "Husseiniyun" militia has already been established in Azerbaijan, along the lines of "Fatimayun" and "Zeinabiyun" in Iraq. It is not yet known whether this is true, but the Iranian press is advertising the "Iranian proxy in Azerbaijan" at full speed.
Tehran still does not understand that Azerbaijan is not Bahrain or Lebanon. It is a country on a completely different ethnic, cultural, socio-psychological and worldview level. And what worked for Iran in the Middle East, will not work in Azerbaijan. Moreover, Baku didn`t capitulate to military blackmail, and Tehran had to soften its tone and stop military exercises.
The pressure on Azerbaijan moved to the level of newspapers and TV channels. The Azerbaijani media has only these days taken a closer look at what the Iranian newspapers say about their country, while the campaign of slander and defamation of Azerbaijan has been waged for many years. Azerbaijanis in Iran have been fighting this policy of disinformation for decades.
But I am sure that Iran will not under any circumstances go to a military conflict with Azerbaijan. They understand that such a conflict would be suicide for the authorities in Tehran. But the imperial myths like "Azerbaijan and the whole South Caucasus is Iranian land" were and will continue to be heard in the Islamic Republic."