The Armenian-Iran Relationship





For more than 20 years, the Islamic Republic of Iran has appeared as the main and most reliable ally of the republic of Armenia. Since Iran recognized Armenia’s independence on December 25, 1991, the two countries have strengthened their political relationship on many occasions and have committed themselves to realize numerous common projects in the economic field.

At first sight, such alliance between the beacon of the “Global Islamic revolution” and a Christian nation religion can appear as deeply unnatural. Looking at it more closely, it responds to a very specific concern, namely to oppose the building of a geopolitical axis running westwards from Baku to Washington.

For Armenia, this alliance is a way to circumvent economic sanctions taken by Azerbaijan and Turkey since the beginning of the occupation of Azerbaijani territory by Armenian force. Moreover, it allows Yerevan to diversify its energy supplies and to position itself as the central element of a North/South axis that would both open the “Warm seas route” to Russia and the European markets for Iran.

In Tehran view, the special relationship with Armenia offers a way to evade international sanctions and pursue its nuclear ambitions. It is aimed at struggling against largely imagined Azeri “irredentism” and at weakening Azerbaijan as part of the competition for Caspian Sea’s hydrocarbon resources. Taking a position into the Caucasus lastly allows Iran to oppose the involvement of the United States and of the European Union in the region and to respond the strategic ambitions of its traditional foes: Turkey and Israel.

The present report will therefore show that Iran and Armenia have developed a hidden agenda to undermine efforts undertaken by the international community to bring stability to the region and to achieve a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Similarly, this strategic choice is indicative of Iran’s will to use the Caucasus as a battlefield of a proxy war with the United States and the European Union in the framework of its nuclear program.

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