Iran Calls for Negotiation Within 3+3 Format in Caucasus Region
With tensions high in the south Caucasus region between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Iran Foreign Minister suggested for the dispute to be tackled from the roots. Hossein Amir Abdollahian called for the need for durable peace in the south Caucasus.
Dispute is over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, and for more than six months now Azerbaijan has deprived over 100,000 ethnic Armenians in this corridor access to humanitarian aid. Last week, Armenia accused Azerbaijan of preparing a military provocation by deploying soldiers along the border near the disputed region. This area is particularly of concern for Russia, Turkey, and Iran given their respective interests.
Despite being allied with Iran and Russia, Armenia is engaged in a joint military drill with the US till September 20. This has Armenia in a bitter-sweet situation with Russia and Iran as both regard the United States as “trouble”. But the Nikol Pashinyan-led government is trying to protect the interests of its people amid tensions running high with Azerbaijan.
Armenia Looks to Diversify
And with Russia engaging in a war with Ukraine, Armenia saw it wise to diversify its security relationship away from Moscow. Moreover, Yerevan feels betrayed by Russia as Moscow failed to lend support when it was most needed – in September 2022 when Azerbaijan’s armed forces attacked Armenia’s internationally recognized territory.
In the early 1990s, Russia had helped broker a ceasefire wherein Armenia gained control of Nagorno-Karabakh, but the UN and Western countries continued to recognize this corridor as part of Azerbaijan. Now in 2023, Armenia is trying to make its ground clear and reach out to the West.
This is where Eagle Partner 2023 – Armenia’s joint military exercise with the US – comes in. Its focused on peacekeeping, and in no way represents a breakthrough in US – Armenia defense cooperation. But it has irked Moscow because Armenia refused to host the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) military exercises and opted for a joint drill with the US.
However, Russia reiterated that Armenia remains its partner and ally and some problems in relations must be resolved through dialogue.
Iran Says Solution in 3+3 Format
Hossein Amir Abdollahian believes the dispute should be tackled from their roots in an effort to bring about durable peace in the south Caucasus. He said the most effective means to achieve comprehensive peace in the region lies in prioritizing negotiation within the 3+3 format that includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia and Russia, Turkey and Iran.
However, the US has brushed off this format saying it’s bad for Georgia and Russia would use its historic privilege in the South Caucasus. But then, the West – the US and EU – have not tried to find solutions or resolve the Armenia and Azerbaijan conflict, and this gave Russia leverage.