Tehran’s Support for Armenian Nationalists: A Threat to Regional Peace

Tehran has become a hub for Armenian nationalists who have lost their political bases in Yerevan and Moscow. One of the key players in this development is the Dashnaktsutyun party, which has organized events and seminars in Tehran with the help of Iranian organizations such as the Hoosk Institute. This situation poses a significant threat to regional peace and stability.

Iran’s support for Armenian nationalism is not new. Tehran has long supported Armenia in countering Azerbaijan, a strategic ally of Iran’s regional rival, Turkey. However, Iran’s support for Armenian nationalism is reaching new heights to counter the growing awakening among Azerbaijanis and other ethnic groups in Iran.

Tehran’s support for Armenian nationalism is not only a threat to Azerbaijan but also to regional peace and stability. Iran’s actions undermine ongoing peace negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which have made significant progress in recent years. Its support for Armenian nationalists risks re-igniting tensions in the region and could lead to another round of conflict.

However, Tehran’s support for Armenian nationalism is not limited to political and diplomatic support. Several reports indicate that Iran has provided military and financial assistance to Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Iran has been supplying arms and ammunition to Armenian forces and allowing Armenia to use its territory to transport military supplies to Nagorno-Karabakh, which Azerbaijan condemned.

Furthermore, Iran has been accused of interfering in Azerbaijan’s internal affairs and supporting separatist movements in its provinces bordering Iran. Azerbaijan has condemned Iran’s support for Armenia and called for the international community to take action against Iran’s regional interference.

The policy of enmity with Azerbaijan is implemented at the highest level in the Iranian regime. Recent events, such as the “Caucasus geopolitical equations, regional and extra-regional role players” meeting hosted by the Hor Institute affiliated with the Decimation Party, further highlight Iran’s support for Armenian nationalism. The meeting was attended by well-known figures and covered by state media, indicating the regime’s active role in supporting these groups.

Iran’s motivations for supporting Armenia against Azerbaijan are complex and multifaceted. One of the most significant reasons for Tehran’s support of Armenia against Azerbaijan is its concern about the increasing level of national consciousness among South Azerbaijanis, who comprise about one-third of Iran. Tehran fears that the spread of Azerbaijani nationalism could destabilize the country and lead to greater autonomy or secession demands. By supporting Armenia, Iran may be attempting to distract attention from the plight of South Azerbaijanis and prevent the spread of nationalism in Iran. However, this support risks exacerbating tensions with Azerbaijan and undermining efforts to achieve lasting peace in the region.

The Armenian government must recognize that Iran is not a genuine friend and is using Armenia to further its ambitions and destabilize the region. The Armenian government must distance itself from Iranian support for nationalist groups and instead work towards peaceful coexistence with its neighbors. Meanwhile, the international community must monitor Tehran’s activities in the region and take measures to prevent further destabilization.

Iran’s support for Armenian nationalists significantly threatens regional peace and stability. The international community must remain vigilant and take necessary actions to prevent further regional destabilization.

[Image by P. S. Burton, via Wikimedia Commons]

Babek Chalabi is a South Azerbaijani activist based in Washington DC; Chalabi also is the founder of ArazNews.org. He tweets at @BabekChelebi. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect TGP’s editorial stance.

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