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"Azerbaijanis expect more from Iran in terms resolving Nagorno-Karabakh conflict"

07 December 2009 [16:42] - TODAY.AZ
Day.Az interview with Mehdi Sanai, Iran-based Center for Russian, Central Asian and Caucasus Studies Director and professor at Tehran University.
What is the current level of relations between Iran and Azerbaijan?  

The relations between Iran and Azerbaijan are very diversified, because we share very long historic relationship, common culture and common traditions. As neighboring countries, Iran and Azerbaijan seek to deepen relationships. However, there are still unresolved issues such as the Caspian Sea status.

Do you think the countries will reach a common denominator on the Caspian issue?

The question is not only in Iran and Azerbaijan. The Caspian littoral states could not yet finally resolve the Caspian Sea legal status as a whole. But the visit of the leaders of Caspian littoral states to Tehran in 2007 marked a great success. There is a mutual understanding about the security of the Caspian Sea. The countries have agreed to establish a regional security system.

We do not deny that the powers outside the region also affect relations between the countries in the region. Countries such as Iran, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan believe that this regional system can support and ensure security of the region. I think they will find a solution to this issue and progress in this respect will continue.

Iran is a major regional power which has always had an impact on the South Caucasus. Tehran has repeatedly announced its readiness to play a more active role in resolving the Karabakh conflict. What role Iran can play in this regard given it has good relations both with Azerbaijan and Armenia?

I believe Iran is the only regional country that has good relations boh with Armenia and Azerbaijan. Perhaps, our Azerbaijani friends expect more from Iran, but I think that Iran’s balanced relations with Azerbaijan and Armenia can be used to resolve the Karabakh conflict. Iran played a useful role in this issue in the early 1990s.  

You mentioned above forming of a regional security system. Do you think it is possible to effectively ensure security in current alignment of forces in the region or there is a need to reform the current system?

During those 20 years the security system in the region was provided by countries outside the region. We have not received the results from this. So we should pay more attention to regional security system. This is evidenced by last year's events in Georgia which showed that only the countries in the region can provide security in the region. There are different models to do this. It is necessary to analyze them and decide how to build a security system, or to combine regional security system with interests of non-regional countries that have an impact on the local situation.


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