Staunton, Mar. 14 – Azerbaijan and Iran have reached agreements not only on a corridor through Iranian territory between Azerbaijan proper and its non-contiguous Nakhichevan autonomy but also on a variety of other projects, raising the question how far Baku is prepared to go in its new tilt toward Tehran.
The corridor accord is obviously part of a broader Azerbaijani effort to put pressure on Yerevan and Moscow to live up to their declared support for a corridor through Armenia’s Syunik Oblast, a passageway Azerbaijanis refer to as the Zengezur corridor (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2022/03/baku-and-tehran-agree-on-corridor-in.html).
But other agreements raise the possibility of a broader rapprochement between Baku and Tehran, one that could fundamentally transform the geo-economics and geo-politics of the southern Caucasus and perhaps even more broadly than that given the West’s efforts to isolate Iran and opposition to anyone who cooperates with it.
At a meeting in Baku last week, Azerbaijani and Iranian officials signed agreements committing themselves to expanded cooperation in the development not only of businesses in both countries but also to the opening of joint industrial parks (casp-geo.ru/azerbajdzhan-i-iran-dogovorilis-o-vzaimnoj-podderzhke-konkurentosposobnosti-msb/ and casp-geo.ru/azerbajdzhan-i-iran-mogut-sozdat-sovmestnye-promyshlennye-parki/).
Whether these agreements will be realized, of course, remains to be seen; but they are a clear sign that the future of the south Caucasus is doing to depend not only on the use of force around Qarabagh but also on the participation of Iran, a factor that is all too often ignored in discussions of the region’s future.