Iran and Azerbaijan are not enemies

Razi Nurullayev, Chairman at "REGION" International Analytical Center (RIAC)
Razi Nurullayev,
Chairman at “REGION” International Analytical Center (RIAC)

An article by Razi Nurullayev, head of “Region” Beynəlxalq Analitik Mərkəz (“Region” International Analytical Centre (RIAC)

Tension in relations between Azerbaijan and Iran is still in progress. While incident that happened two weeks ago at the border is still on the agenda, a new fatal incident occurred at the border. What happened between the parties is not connected merely with economic issues. This is entirely political issue. Since clerical government fell short of expectations in Azerbaijan, official Tehran has started threatening Azerbaijan.

Despite Iran has been expecting visa simplification with Azerbaijan for a long time, the opposite side has not taken any step in this regard, Iran has taken steps in this field, though. On the contrary, Azerbaijan has toughened rules on the entry to the country for Iranian citizens even more. The more Azerbaijan approaches Israel, uses services of Israel lobby, the more Iranian government resents.

There has always been invisible conflict between Azerbaijan and Iran. Differences of opinion between two states have remained for several years. Tension has been growing in an ascending line in recent times.

Can this growing tension turn into conflict in such situation?
I think not. Yet, the differences of opinion will continue and rapprochement and agreement of positions do not seem on the horizons in the coming years.

Official Tehran’s and Azerbaijan’s views to the global world, to the West, to Israel, attitudes towards Armenia are different. Therefore, these kinds of disagreements arise between the two countries from time to time. In case Iran takes any unpleasant step, Azerbaijan will also take similar steps against it. Alternatively, when official Baku takes any undesired step, our southern neighbor takes tougher measures in response. Such attitude stands at the root of the recently originated conflict.

The visit of Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs to Azerbaijan should be realized in the near future. Probably, the disagreements between the two states will be discussed and problems will be eliminated within this visit. At any time, Iran and Azerbaijan are the neighboring countries, also our more than 30 million compatriots live there. Historically, we lived in the territory of one state and were one state. Therefore, atrocities between Azerbaijan and Iran is impossible to continue for good. There will be disagreements, hurts, but there will be peace as well. The existence of the long-term conflict is disgraceful for the neighboring and two Muslim countries. Nations’ tolerance towards it does not seem real.

Simply, there are a lot of politicians, religious leaders, representatives of civil society, human rights defenders on both sides and they are the ones who aggravate relations with their statements. Iranian side cannot accept the Western policy, friendly relations of Azerbaijan with Israel.  Azerbaijani side cannot accept Iran’s intervention into the internal affairs of Azerbaijan, cooperation with Armenia in order to influence foreign policy of Azerbaijan.

The occurrence of the events between the two countries resulting in death is very distressing. This fuels the already strained relations further and sows the seeds of discord among nations.
Today very important projects can be realized between the two countries in the economic sphere. Significant economic cooperation can contribute to the economy of both countries and stimulate the creation of new employments. Most importantly, it may lead to the creation of cheapness in the markets.

Medicine in Iran is stronger than that of in Azerbaijan. Why should not there be deep cooperation in this area? The opening of Iran’s largest medical and educational centers in Baku and regions is a reasonable approach. Iran, too, can create better business conditions for Azerbaijani side in which it is stronger and could potentially bring know-how to Iranian economy.

The best way is to get away from the tensions and look at the bright side of things even in the most difficult situations.

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