An Iranian lawmaker says that the Israeli regime is seeking to create conflict and insecurity in the South Caucasus region amid recent territorial tensions between the regional countries, especially Azerbaijan and Armenia.
In an exclusive interview with Iran Daily, Ahmad Alirezabeigi said that Israel is pretending to support Azerbaijan and Muslims in the dispute between the two neighbors over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The Nagorno-Karabakh region has been at the center of a decades-long dispute between the two countries, which have fought two wars over the mountainous territory — in the 1990s and in 2020.
The Nagorno-Karabakh region is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but largely populated by ethnic Armenians.
In 2020, a Russian-brokered cease-fire deal saw Armenia cede swathes of territories it had controlled for decades.
After the cease-fire, Azerbaijan has proposed the opening of the Zangezur corridor which would give Azerbaijan access to its Nakhichevan exclave through Armenia. The corridor would pass through Armenian territory near the country’s border with Iran.
Alirezabeigi said that the strategic Zangezur corridor has now become an excuse to increase insecurity in the South Caucasus.
The Iranian lawmaker said if Azerbaijan implements its project, a geopolitical gate will be closed to Iran, which limits Iran’s access to its neighbors. Iran will not tolerate geopolitical changes and it will resist such changes.
Today, we are witnessing expansionism in the South Caucasus region by some powers, which is taking place amid the Russian power vacuum caused by the ongoing war in Ukraine. Therefore, the ground has been prepared for some trans-regional actors to flex their muscles in the South Caucasus and, in the meantime, the Israeli regime is mostly trying to exploit the situation in order to generate tensions in the region.
The Israeli regime, in an unconventional move and through the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, has revealed all the military support it has already provided to Azerbaijan. In fact, this is part of the regime’s scenario to fuel tensions in the region.
Israel intends to push Azerbaijan towards a conflict with Iran and the regime is certain that it will benefit from the conflict. But both Azerbaijan and Iran should be vigilant and not fall into the Israeli trap and should respect and adhere to international law.
Referring to Armenia’s situation, Alirezabiegi said Yerevan is now in strategic shock. Because, based on a military treaty signed between Armenia and Russia, Moscow is committed to supporting the territorial integrity of Armenia, but now Armenia feels that Russian side has not fulfilled its obligations. Therefore, it has turned towards the United States.
Yerevan’s approach is not in line with our interests in the region, and there is no justification for NATO’s presence in the region – an issue that is certainly not acceptable by Tehran.
Regarding the tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Lachine corridor, the Iranian parliamentarian said the two countries have accepted commitments under the cease-fire agreement that should be respected by both sides.
The Lachine corridor is the only highway linking Armenia to the Nagorno-Karabakh region.