(MENAFN- AzerNews) By Akbar Mammadov
US-based News Blaze website has commented on the recent aid from Iran to Azerbaijan's occupied Nagorno Karabakh region in its report published on April 21.
Recently, a video circulated in the media about the transportation of fuel, raw materials and food by trucks with Iranian state license plates. Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry has expressed concern over the reported aid to, saying that it "caused serious concern of Azerbaijani government and deep public dissatisfaction.
Commenting on the aid, News Blaze questioned:
'Why would the self-proclaimed 'guardian of all the world's Muslims support the ongoing Armenian occupation of land that belongs to its secular northern neighbor, the Republic of Azerbaijan, whose population is primarily Shiite Muslims?
'Iran shares a 611-kilometre border with the Republic of Azerbaijan; as a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh War of 1988-94, a large part of this border stretch has been removed from Azerbaijan's lawful control. Armenia aggressively invaded and occupied approximately 20 percent of Azerbaijan's sovereign territory that includes the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. The outcome of the war was that over 800,000 Azerbaijani civilians were expelled from these occupied areas. And till today they are still internally displaced, scattered all over Azerbaijan," the report reads.
Following the occupation, Armenia created the so-called 'Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, now called 'the Republic of Artsakh, in the illegally occupied area of Azerbaijan. It is important to state that the Armenian-occupied region is internationally regarded as part of Azerbaijan while the so-called 'Republic of Artsakh is not recognized by any country, worldwide, reads the article.
The author added that the Armenian-controlled Iran-Azerbaijan 132 km long border portion, stretching between the Armenian town of Meghri and the Azerbaijani town of Horadiz, is where Tehran's interfaces with the so-called 'Nagorno-Karabakh republic.
'Built in the 13th century, the Khodaafarin Bridge, stretching across the Araz River and connecting Iran with the occupied Jabrayil district of Azerbaijan can be seen as an example of Iran's cynicism.
'While Iran claims to be a nation of piety and order, at the same time it is pouring hard drugs, arms and fuel across this illegal border crossing, as well researched and penned by investigative writer Harrold Cane in his article ‘The Islamic Republic.' The Khodaafarin Bridge, the main crossing point between Iran and Nagorno-Karabakh, is considered illegal under international law. Located well beyond the reach of global law and order agencies, therefore useful," the author of the article wrote.
The author touched on the fact that for a long time Tehran, under the control of the IRGC, has been using this route for trafficking drugs, originating in Afghanistan, to their final destination, Europe. In addition, she also noted that the Iranian smugglers, driving trucks with Iranian license plates, openly carry narcotics into the Nagorno-Karabakh region, across the Araz River and into Europe's back passage.
"Iran, a fervent Islamic theocracy, and Armenia, a Christian nation, make strange bedfellows. But, as it seems, money talks," Greenger wrote.
"According to Araz News an independent news source focusing on ethnic Azerbaijanis, in addition to drug trafficking, the IRGC are also in charge of sending supplies, i.e. fuel, food, construction materials, etc., to the Armenia-occupied Karabakh. Most of the trucks sent to Armenia and the occupied Karabakh territory belong to the Nasr Novin Mishu Company, located in Sufian and Tabriz, Iran's northwestern cities. The Nasr Novin Mishu Company is one of the subsidiaries of Nasr Company, a company operating under the auspices of IRGC in the northwestern part of Iran, the article reads.
Greenger noted that Iranian trucks, coming from the north-western part of Iran, enter the Karabakh region using at least two different routes and satellite images show the two crossing points. 'One widely held route is from Tabriz to Meghri, a southern Armenian border town with Iran-to Nagorno-Karabakh's capital, Stepanakert (Khankendi), via the Goris-Lachin highway.
"The second route is from Khomarly's north-east, in the Iran's Ardabil province, leading to the Jabrayil district of Azerbaijan, which is crossing a portion of the Iran-Azerbaijan border that has been controlled by Armenia since the early 1990s," she added.
The author notes that sadly, Tehran conducts a two-faced policy towards Baku. 'For one, it claims to support the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, yet it allows Iranian trucks and cars to enter the region, tacitly supporting the UN-condemned Armenian occupation of Azerbaijan's lands.
According to Greenger, in its relations with Azerbaijan and Armenia, Tehran's geopolitics is twofold: the official policy, and the pragmatic one, based on its national interests.
The author believes that Armenian control over Azerbaijani lands, bordering Iran's north-western region, appears to be beneficial for Tehran.
'It creates a ‘buffer zone' between Azerbaijan and Iran's north-western Azerbaijani populated regions. Any Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict resolution, in favour of Azerbaijan, may not be in the interest of Iran either. The present status-quo in the Armenian-occupied Azerbaijan regions bordering Iran ‘solves' a national security problem for Tehran. Since its 2nd declaration of independence, in the early 1990s, Azerbaijan has chosen to be strategically aligned with the West, including the US and Israel, which Iran considers to be its archenemies. The fear of Azerbaijani irredentism inside Iran, the secular nature of the government in Baku and its close partnership with the West have facilitated the emergence of a strong alliance between Iran and Armenia. The adage 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend well characterizes the Iran-Armenia nexus. Iran has even gone as far as supporting radical Shia and separatist groups in Azerbaijan, she wrote.
The author went on to add that so far Azerbaijan has been somewhat balancing its open strategic partnership with the US and Israel while having normal neighborly relations with Iran to the extent, to date, even not opening a diplomatic envoy in Israel, despite being Israel's closest majority-Muslim ally.
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews' staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
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