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Ongoing tensions between Iran and Azerbaijan, which emerged in the aftermath of the Second Karabakh War in 2020, have reached a critical level in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Ambiguity around the implementation of the Zangezur Corridor and mutual accusations over alleged ties to hostile countries are among the primary sources of contention.
Though there have been previous periods of less than ideal Iran-Azerbaijan relations, the current tension is unprecidented in recent history. The sides both percieve security threats from the situation, prompting fears that the situation could escalate to a point that could have military implications or destablise the region further. External factors , such as warming Russia-Iran relations and growing cooperation between Israel and Azerbaijan based on their shared distrust of Iran, could further exacerbate the situation.
The objective of this policy memo is to analyze Iran’s policy towards Azerbaijan in the context of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and other novel geopolitical factors. The paper evaluates the various factors that influence the ongoing crisis, with the aim of providing useful insights that can assist interested actors in devising effective strategies to ensure regional security and stability in the South Caucasus.
Key words: Azerbaijan, Karabakh War, Iran, Ukraine, Russia, Israel, Zangezur Corridor, Armenia
Policy Brief #53 | September 2023