YEREVAN (Azatutyun.am)—Iran’s intervention has prevented more large-scale Azerbaijani military operations against Armenia, according to a senior Armenian official.
“We had intelligence that larger attacks were being prepared by Azerbaijan when it attacked Armenia last September,” Al-Monitor.com quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Vahan Kostanyan as saying in an article published on Tuesday.
“Iranian actions and statements helped to stop a further deterioration of that situation,” Kostanyan told the publication. He did not elaborate.
Azerbaijani forces attacked and seized on September 13-14 Armenian army positions at various sections of the border between the two countries. At least 300 soldiers from both sides were killed in what was the heaviest fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan since the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Syunik, Armenia’s sole region bordering Iran, was one of the scenes of those clashes. Baku has been demanding that Yerevan open an exterritorial corridor connecting Azerbaijan to its Nakhichevan exclave through Syunik. The Armenian side has ruled out such a possibility, saying that it can only agree to conventional transport links between the two South Caucasus states.
Iran is also strongly opposed to the corridor. It has repeatedly warned Baku against attempting to strip the Islamic Republic of the common border and transport links with Armenia.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian reiterated that “red line” when he visited Armenia and inaugurated the Iranian consulate in Syunik’s capital Kapan in late October.
In mid-October, Iran’s elite military force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), held large-scale exercises near Syunik, Nakhichevan and districts south of Karabakh recaptured by the Azerbaijani army during the 2020 war. The Iranian army afterwards held separate war games near that area.
In an apparent response to those drills, Turkish and Azerbaijani troops held joint exercises along Azerbaijan’s border with Iran in December.
“Iran is an important partner. The border with Iran is of utmost importance to us,” Kostanyan told Al-Monitor.
Despite the shared security interests, Armenia and Iran have announced no plans for closer military cooperation. Kostanyan said in this regard that Yerevan does not intend to acquire Iranian weapons.