Açıq mənbələrdən foto

Açıq mənbələrdən foto

Two factors noticeably affect the weather in Baku - either the cold wind from Russia and the temperature drops by 7-10 degrees; then the wind from Iran - and it becomes 7-10 degrees hotter. However, the wind from the West does not reach here.

The latest increase in tension caused by winds from Iran occurred in April 2020, when information leaked to newspapers about an unprecedented agreement between Iran and Azerbaijan on the construction of a dam and a Hydroelectric Power Station (HPS) on the Araz River, signed in 2016. According to the agreement, Iran was allowed this construction - between Iran and the regions of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenia. The operation of this complex under the agreement should be carried out jointly by the parties to the agreement; however, it is not clear how Azerbaijani experts will control the dam and hydroelectric power station if they do not have free access to Iran or the territories occupied by Armenians. Even more public outrage was caused by the fact published in the media that Iran had already completed the construction of this facility back in 2010 without any consent of the Azerbaijani side! ..

Further, it became known that the agreement on this project was signed between the USSR and Iran in 1988, but due to the collapse of the USSR and subsequent events in the region, the project was suspended. In 1993, President of Azerbaijan Abulfaz Elchibey refused to continue the project, and after 5 years, President Heydar Aliyev did not agree to continue it. However, Tehran is returning to this issue. In the beginning of 2000, without any permission from the Azerbaijani side, continues to build the dam, which is completed in 2010.

A new round of negotiations on the project began in 2016. The Azerbaijani government decided that there was no point in messing around, because the project has long been put into operation. Or maybe Azerbaijan received some promises of support from Iran on the Karabakh issue? ..

One way or another, but the treaty without much publicity was signed and ratified in parliament on June 14, 2016. The information about this agreement aroused public indignation in Azerbaijan in 2020.  This is the fate of small countries, they often do not reckon with you, they do not notice you and have to endure.

Now the dam is located 85-90 km west of the contact line of the Azerbaijani and Armenian armies, in the south-west of the Jabrail region. It is reported that a part of the complex belonging to the project on the Azerbaijani side is surrounded by Iran with a 10-kilometer security zone, the Armenian units were withdrawn from this zone, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) took their place.

The controversial dam on the Araz River is not the first and not the main contradiction between Iran and Azerbaijan. Iran fears Azerbaijani nationalism, capable of fomenting the movement of Iranian Azerbaijanis for independence. The Republic of Azerbaijan fears the spread of the ideas of the Islamic revolution in the country. Another serious contradiction here is Iran’s economic support for Armenia, the country that occupied Azerbaijani lands.

True, in recent years, the President of Iran, the “reformer” Hassan Rouhani has sought to normalize relations with Baku - mutual visits of officials have been carried out, various economic agreements have been concluded. At the same time, the number of critical articles against the Azerbaijani authorities in Iran, which was close to the country's conservative wing, increased in Iran. This is where the traditional difference in the attitude of the Republic of Azerbaijan between the "reform" and "conservative" wings is manifested. Hassan Rouhani has a traditional “reformatory” approach towards Azerbaijan. That is, it seeks to make more friends, soften relations with neighboring countries, and maintain diplomatic relations at a high level. Against the backdrop of increasing US sanctions, cold relations with neighbors do not meet the interests of the country, said President H. Rouhani.

A new stage in the US-Iran confrontation

The main foreign policy issue for Iran is the policy of US President D. Trump. In May 2018, the United States, accusing Iran of continuing developing nuclear weapons, withdrew from the nuclear agreement concluded in 2015 between Iran and the “six” countries (USA, France, Great Britain, Russia, China and Germany). Following this, Washington imposed economic sanctions against Iran, caused by both Iran’s nuclear program and “Iran’s aggressive policy in the countries of the region.”

Over time, sanctions began to tighten, most of the trade agreements signed by Tehran with Western countries were suspended, and oil sales were reduced to a minimum. Of course, these steps were "mutual." Tensions between countries began to spill over into limited military incidents. Tehran used all means available to it against the USA. In June 2019, Iranians shot down a U.S. drone. Further, Washington accused Iran of assaulting several foreign tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Iran, in turn, in May 2019 announced a phased withdrawal from the nuclear deal and the resumption of Peaceful Nuclear Activities. At the same time, Tehran appealed to European countries - Germany, France and Britain with an appeal to protect the agreement and fulfill the obligations arising from it.

The situation began to escalate. In April 2019, the United States declared the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, and after a while, Iran declared the entire American army as a terrorist organization. Thus, the parties received the right to deliver mutual military strikes.

In October, protests against the pro-Iranian government of Iraq and Iran’s influence in that country began in Baghdad, with the result that the Iraqi government resigned. At the same time, Iranian supporters also held protests; an attack was organized on the US embassy in Baghdad. Immediately after that, on January 3, as a result of a special operation of the American army at the Baghdad airport, the head of the Middle East operations of Iran, the commander of the Goods brigade, General Gasim Suleymani, along with the commander of the operations of the Khashd-Shabi forces Mehti al-Muhandis, were killed.

In response, on January 8, two US military bases in Iraq were rocket fired. According to official information, more than 100 soldiers received cranial injuries, but losses were avoided. In general, after the attempt on G. Suleymani against the American army in Iraq, more than 20 attacks were carried out. During an attack only on the Tachi military base on March 11, three members of the Western coalition were killed and twelve were wounded. After that, US forces bombed the base of the Iraqi Kataib Hizbullah group responsible for this attack.

On April 15, 2020, Iranian boats carried out “dangerous maneuvers” for an hour near American warships in the Persian Gulf. After that, President D. Trump said he had instructed to knock down Iranian ships, which would put pressure on the US military. In response, Iran also announced that it would be keeping an eye on the US military near its warships.

These events, as well as the shipment of five Iranian tankers with 1.05 million barrels of gasoline to Venezuela, can so far be considered a peak in the process of confrontation between the two states.  However, these incidents, along with the economic embargo and the gradual use of military-political pressure to oust Iran, did not bring a serious result. A pause in this confrontation was caused by the pandemic of the new Coronavirus, which has spread around the world since the beginning of 2020. The pandemic focused the attention of governments of all countries of the world on solving domestic problems, and made the issue of peaceful cooperation relevant.

At the same time, Iran in foreign policy strove to fill G. Suleymani’s place with the most dynamic actions. Strengthening political maneuvers in Syria in response to an attempt to oust Tehran from this country, supporting pro-Iranian forces in Yemen, Iraq and Palestine are indicative of Tehran’s attempts to maintain its influence in the region and strengthen Iran’s Shiite belt around the country. The decision of the Trump administration, after the specified attack on US military bases, to leave some bases and concentrate military forces in larger and protected bases, is regarded by some observers as Iran’s success.

Currently, the attention of the US government is focused on combating the pandemic. Due to the economic situation and the election race in the United States, Tehran faced a one-year respite in the confrontation with the United States. During this time, Tehran hopes to strengthen its influence in the region, as well as persuade European countries not to join American sanctions and establish trade cooperation, threatening them with a complete withdrawal from the nuclear agreement.

Because of US sanctions, according to President Rouhani, "the budget of Iran annually receives less than $ 50 billion, that is, somewhere around two budgets last year." Despite this, Iran has so far been able to contain social protests within the country. How long? After all, Trump is not going to retreat.

On November 15, 2019, protests in Iran due to rising fuel prices turned into calls for a regime change. According to international organizations, over six people died in 6 days of violent protests in dozens of Iranian cities.

However, these protests supported by the West were suppressed by government forces, and once again the version of a possible “regime change from within” did not come true.


The coming year will be a serious test for Iran, both in the economic (sanctions) and in the political sphere. On February 21, 2020, parliamentary elections were held in Iran, which ended with a tangible victory for the conservatives - out of 290 seats in the parliament, 223 mandates were won by conservatives, 16 by reformers, and 36 deputies went to independent deputies. The chair of parliament also changed, he became the former mayor of Tehran, Mohammed Bagher Galibaf, a former military man and a person close to the country's spiritual leader. Parliamentary elections were held in the midst of a pandemic and were remembered as elections, in which the lowest number of voters in Iranian history, 42.57%, participated.

Next year, presidential elections are due to take place in the country. Hassan Rouhani, the final second term in office, cannot participate in the elections. One of the main candidates for the reformers in the elections is the name of the Minister of Communications Azeri Chehromin, but the decision on his candidacy will be made by the Constitutional Defense Council (Shurai Negahban).

The fact that Hassan Rouhani failed to realize his election promises, as well as the violation of a nuclear deal with the West, seriously affected not only his authority, but, in general, the authority of the reform wing. The escalation of tension, especially the deepening conflicts in the Middle East, as a rule, strengthens the position of conservatives. However, if in November in the USA the democrats win the elections, then this may become a hope for the reformist wing of Iran. At least the nuclear agreement can be renewed again; the probability of easing the sanctions is again updated.

In the current political system of Iran, the highest position in the country is held by 81-year-old supreme spiritual leader Ali Khamenei. In this sense, a special place in the analysis and forecasts of the future of the country is occupied by the question of its health and its successor. Will it be Hassan Rouhani or Muhammad Khatami, distinguished by their loyalty to the West, or will they be a terry conservative revolutionary who has visited the trenches in the Syrian conflict zone Ibrahim Raisi.

Now among the potential successors of the spiritual leader from the conservative wing are the names of Ibrahim Raisi, Mujtaba Khamenei (son of the current spiritual leader) and Ali Khomeini (grandson of the Iranian revolution leader Ayatollah R. Khomeini).


How will the Azerbaijani Turks of Iran behave?

Contrary to expectations in Baku, supporters of the unification of the Republic of Azerbaijan and South (Iranian Azerbaijan), 30 million Azerbaijani Turks of Iran over the past two decades have not been particularly active in secession from Iran. Although periodically protests against the Persian assimilation policy, social problems and violations of civil rights cover the Azerbaijani vilayets of Iran, including cities such as Tabriz, Ardabil, Zinjan, they do not turn into a massive organized movement for independence.

In our opinion, such passivity of Iranian Azerbaijanis, who throughout the twentieth century would always be at the forefront of revolutionary events in Iran, is associated with the following factors. Firstly, the current spiritual leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, is an ethnic Azerbaijani, and the Iranian political leadership, power structures and business have a considerable number of Azerbaijani Turks, that is, the factor of localism and the absence of ethnic discrimination play here. Many Azerbaijani Turks consider Iran “their” or “common” state.

As for the anti-clerical moods - dissatisfaction with the mullah regime - then here, it turns out that in the religious sphere Azerbaijani Turks are represented in sufficient quantities. In general, the current state structure is quite satisfying for a certain part of Iranian Azerbaijanis.

But there are serious groups of Azerbaijani nationalists in Iran, their aspirations run into the factor that the country's main opposition force, the monarchists supported by the West, advocate a single unitary Iran and do not want to hear about any autonomy from Azerbaijan and, moreover, independence.

In the protests of recent years, the leading role belongs to other ethnic groups - Persians, Kurds, Arabs and Balochs, all such protest movements do not promise anything positive to Azerbaijanis. In other words, the leaders of the Azerbaijani national movement consider that they may face worse power. This despite the fact that among Azerbaijanis in Iran there is serious dissatisfaction with the current authorities in social and political terms.

On the other hand, if Arabs and Balochis live geographically far from Azerbaijan, then the Kurdish factor, especially the mass resettlement of Kurds in the Urmia region and areas near Tabriz, cannot but worry Azerbaijanis. Therefore, the separatist activities of the Kurds, their territorial claims contributed to the indifferent attitude of Azerbaijanis to their anti-government protests. Sometimes they even spoke along with the authorities.

Of course, the ethnicity of the next spiritual leader of Iran or the country's president (and their environment) can seriously affect the attitude of Azerbaijanis to the authorities. One of the presidential candidates today is considered ethnic Azeri Chahromi. It is believed that its ethnic origin will significantly affect the processes of consolidation or disintegration of the country.



A number of international and regional events and factors will be of great importance for the Islamic Republic next year. Among them, the most significant are the US presidential elections in November 2020 and in May 2021 in Iran itself. Their results, in addition to having a serious impact on bilateral relations, will affect the regional situation. On the other hand, the possible failure of Trump’s policy of tough pressure and isolation of Iran, the intensification of the Palestinian-Israeli confrontation (Trump’s plan to annex the Jordan Valley by Israel - “the plan of the century”) may create additional opportunities for Iran to overcome the foreign policy crisis. At this stage, Washington’s main map will be an internal social protest caused by tougher economic sanctions against Iran.

However, Iran may have other problems. Therefore, after the agreements of the United States with the Taliban, the possible danger on the eastern borders of Iran prompted, according to press reports, the country's leadership to relocate some groups of the Fatimiun brigade consisting of Afghans to Afghanistan from Syria. Thus, another US-Iran confrontation may occur in Afghanistan.

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