Iran's IRGC has been sharply "pacified". Does Tehran "bring to mind" its Turkic roots?

02.05.23 10:30

Just two or three months ago, the main hope of the Armenian revanchists and "Artsakh" separatists was the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Its direct military intervention in the region of South Caucasus was expected both to prevent opening of Zangezur corridor and "save" Armenians of "Artsakh" from the next "genocide".


But now Azerbaijan has finally signed the verdict to "Artsakh" separatist project by establishing its checkpoint on Lachin road connecting Azerbaijani Khankendi with Armenia, which is so far in the zone of responsibility of Russian peacekeepers. After that, any supply of weapons and fighters to the underdog "Artsakh" separatists via the Lachin road is stopped. Naturally, this event, which occurred on the eve of the significant day of April 24, when the Armenian nationalists celebrate the mythical "Armenian Genocide Day" in the Ottoman Empire, caused a wave of "indignation" of pro-Armenian forces around the world. The new "friends of the Armenians" in the US, EU and France have also voiced and responded with routine "concern".


However, until recently the IRGC, which was rattling its guns and threatening Azerbaijan, did not even express any "concern". Neither did the official authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Taking into account how recently IRGC was "trying to fight" for Armenian interests, all this looks a little strange.


But if we analyze the geopolitical situation, in which Tehran has found itself, and the fact that it suddenly suddenly "forgot" its Armenian "friends" looks quite logical.


Undoubtedly, the regime in Tehran's main motive for using Armenian nationalists and Artsakh separatists in their own interests was to prevent opening of Zangezur corridor and creation of continuous "Turkic-Turanic belt" along its northern borders. And Tehran regime still has this strategic goal and there should be no illusions here. Although it is already starting to contradict the new interests of Russia, allied to Iran and "blocked from the West", which became interested in the Zangezur corridor as a "window to the outside world" through the South Caucasus and Turkey in the light of the protracted Ukrainian war and Western sanctions.


It should be understood that after the emergence of the Azerbaijani checkpoint, the topic of the Zangezur corridor still affects the stability of the Lachin corridor. That is, if in Armenia they think that with the opening of the Azerbaijani checkpoint on the Lachin road there is no need to rush to open the "extraterritorial" Zangezur corridor, as it was envisaged by the November 2020 peace agreement after the 44-day war, this is yet another geopolitical delusion. The scale and interests in the Zangezur corridor are greater than the capabilities of Tehran and Yerevan strategists.


Undoubtedly, in light of the forthcoming Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty, the unblocking of communications and opening of the Zangezur corridor is almost inevitable. And this corridor will function extraterritorially.


At the same time, realizing the practical inevitability of the future emergence of the single "Turkic belt" (without the "Zangezur rupture"), the Iranian leadership makes a conclusion or pretends to "make": if the process cannot be prevented, it is desirable to "lead" it. And it begins to remember that the Islamic Republic of Iran is half Turkic country by its ethnic composition. And besides, it occupies a place "almost in the middle" of the Turkic world.


The fact that Tehran is beginning to "probe the ground" regarding participation in Turkic integration was announced by a rather marginal and clearly "pro-Russian", but well-informed presidential candidate of Turkey Doğu Perincek (father of the famous historian Mehmet Perincek, who lives in Moscow). He made the sensational announcement that talks have begun with Tehran on Iran joining the Organization of Turkic States (OTS).


Clearly, it is not at all certain that Iran will participate in the organisation. And it will take a long time between the start of negotiations (especially informal ones) and the accession of Iran to the TSO, if there is one. But the very fact of such negotiations is significant. It means the leadership in Tehran is abandoning aggressive Turkophobia. This is the very basis on which it had a full understanding with Yerevan and the Armenian lobby.


If Tehran had been even wiser and more far-sighted, it could have offered the Turkic states transit through its territory, including along the southern shore of the Caspian Sea and joint participation in trans-Eurasian projects. But it is here that the Iranian authorities have deliberately slowed down infrastructure projects. Even the construction of the Resht-Astara railway link to the Azerbaijani border, which Iran itself needs, was only recently resumed.


As part of the emerging "warming" of relations with Azerbaijan, it is no coincidence that a landmark article by Ali Akbar Viloyati, foreign affairs advisor to Iran's leader Ali Khamenei, entitled "I too am an Azerbaijani", recently appeared. In the article, he notes that the historical, cultural and religious values of both Iran and Azerbaijan are the "common cultural heritage" of the two countries.


 "Citizens of Azerbaijan are hardworking and reliable people who are developing their country with the permission of the Almighty. Azerbaijanis are confident that the Islamic Republic of Iran stands for the interests of the Republic of Azerbaijan". - The Advisor to the Head of Iran writes. Behavior of such materials is not at all accidental and can be regarded as an apparent "reverence" of the authorities in Tehran towards Baku.


It is obvious and natural that IRGC "sharply" suspended its bellicose anti-Azerbaijani rhetoric. It is known that Iranian leadership granted a certain "autonomy" to this organization, but it was so ardent in defending the interests of the Armenian nationalists and threatening a war against Azerbaijan that it had the opposite effect to that expected in Tehran. The IRGC therefore appears to have been instructed to curtail its bellicose rhetoric, especially as Iran's leadership is once again trying to find new points of engagement with Azerbaijan and Turkey through diplomatic means. As a result, the IRGC did not even try to "resent" the Azerbaijani checkpoint on the Lachin road.



George Mazniashvili

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