And the issue of Azeri-speaking regions of Iran
Sargis M. Mkrtchyan
Relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, which became independent after the collapse of the Soviet Union, have had difficult ups and downs over the past three decades. They were conditioned by the attractive and repulsive factors existing between the two countries.
Attracting factors are history, religion, language, being contiguous, opportunities for economic cooperation, etc. Among the repulsive factors are the issue of clarifying the legal regime of the Caspian Sea, the issue of Artsakh, different perceptions of the state-religion relations, the direction of foreign policy, especially the aspirations of the Republic of Azerbaijan towards the Azeri-speaking regions of Iran.
The problems of the Iranian Azeris and the ethnic groups of Iran in general, raised by the Pan-Turkic and the Pan-Azeri circles without any real basis, are mainly carried out for political and mercenary purposes. Modern communication resources and various means of propaganda are used. History, symbols, reality are distorted, cultural heritage is appropriated.
Since independence, the Republic of Azerbaijan has anchored the identity of its people on linguistic and ethnic factors, while after the Islamic Revolution, the Iranian authority has given priority to Islamic ideology and values. Azerbaijan has joined the Turkey-Israel-US axis, while Iran is trying to get closer to Russia. At present, Iran’s enemy (Israel) or rival states (Turkey) make good use of the issue of Iranian Azeris to weaken Iran and divide the country if possible.
During the past 30 years, in fact, repulsive factors have prevailed over gravitational factors. Today, there are more problems and distrust between the two countries than close relations.
The overt or covert aspirations of the Republic of Azerbaijan towards the Azeri-speaking regions of Iran are directly related to Iran’s national security. It is fraught with the danger of the division of Iran, which is not only a blow to Iran, but is the greatest threat to Armenia’s national security.