Elkhan Alasgarov, PhD, head of the Baku Network’s expert council
Iran is Azerbaijan’s neighbor, and Baku has always tried to maintain friendly relations with this country not only in the economic but also political sphere.
Even in the most difficult periods of Tehran’s relations with the West, when sanctions were imposed against this country, and unprecedented pressure was exerted on its neighbors, Azerbaijan adhered to the policy of good neighborliness and recognized Iran’s right to nuclear energy in peaceful purposes.
In turn, Iran has always supported the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and in all forums continues to recognize the fact that Nagorno-Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan. At the same time, in spite of crimes committed by Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh, the country’s policy of ethnic cleansing, crimes against peaceful Azerbaijani and Muslim population, Iran has always tried to maintain relations with Armenia at a high level and often helped it to evade economic isolation.
Recently, Iran has made another friendly gesture to Armenia, having signed an agreement on gas export to Georgia through the territory of this country. Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh announced this, while commenting on the results of his meeting with Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Armenia Levon Yolyan.
Meanwhile, Armenia’s reaction to Iran’s actions was far from what the Islamic Republic seems to have expected. According to Armenian reports, the country has territorial claims to Iran. To be more specific, it has to do with Lake Urmia.
Armenian media outlets widely commented on the photos of Iran’s Lake Urmia made by NASA. On the photos, which were made in April 2016, the lake was green. However, the lake was already red a few months later on the new photos made by NASA.
Following that, an article on Urmia turning “blood red” was published in Armenian media. The article stresses that “Lake Urmia is the largest salt lake in the Middle East. It is situated on the Armenian Plateau in Iranian provinces that were part of the Kingdom of Greater Armenia at the time of Tigranes the Great.”
Thus, after making territorial claims to Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia, Armenia turned to Iran, with the same claims. And that’s following the gas deal with Tehran…