Iran Worries About Fate Of Border With Artsakh

IRAN WORRIES ABOUT FATE OF BORDER WITH ARTSAKH

The minister of energy Armen Movsisyan passed Serzh Sargsyan’s message
to the president of Iran Hassan Rowhani, Radio Liberty announced
referring to the Iranian Press TV.

On the eve the director of the Iranian electricity network announced
that the countrywide outage in Armenia was not caused by isolation from
the Iranian network but emergency in the Armenian network while Armen
Movsisyan had announced that the outage was caused by being isolated
from the Iranian system. According to some other sources, the outage
was caused by an emergency in the thermal power plant of Hrazdan.

Most probably, in Iran Armen Movsisyan was asked if he is not ashamed
of lying. At least, the ministry of energy has not refuted the
announcement of the Iranian official that the problem was in Armenia.

It is not ruled out that Serzh Sargsyan’s message to the president
of Iran apologized to the Iranian side for blaming the Iranian system
for the accident on the Armenian side.

However, the main topic of the message was most probably different.

Energy was the occasion for sending the letter but the main issues
were different. First, it is the issue of Artsakh as the Armenian
side regularly informs Iran about any development relating to it. Iran
is directly interested in this issue. Furthermore, Iran is obviously
interested in preserving the status quo as Armenian, not Azerbaijan,
Russian or Western armed forces should be based there.

Recent developments relating to Artsakh are worrying. Whether the
Armenian side remembers Gulistan or not, the Russians have accepted
these reminders unofficially, and officially they have turned Artsakh
the key issue in the process of Armenia’s membership to the Customs
Union though the Customs Union is a tool in the issue of Artsakh,
not vice versa.

Despite these plans, the West made efforts to counteract activation
of negotiations and the prospect of surprises through Sargsyan-
Aliyev meeting which does not need any surprise in Karabakh because
negotiations with Iran are underway, and there is high probability
to reach an agreement. Foreign media informed about the unexpected
visit of the U.S. Secretary Kerry to Geneva where negotiations on the
nuclear issue is underway and he may meet with the Iranian foreign
minister. Generally, the U.S.-Iranian relations are taking interesting
turns after a pause of 40 years, namely the telephone talk between
Iran and the United States, flights between Tehran and Washington
are launched, nuclear negotiations are growing constructive.

In this situation Iran and the West would not want any surprises and
escalation of the Artsakh issue. On the contrary, since improvement
of relations between the West and Iran contradicts Russia’s strategic
interest since it obviously plays down Russia’s role in the Caucasus
and the Near East while Russia would opt for some escalation in
Artsakh to paralyze the least extent of normalization of relations
between the West and Iran.

The Armenian side has a key role. Armenia may either be helpful to the
Russian efforts or at least not impede the Iran-West relations. The
second is in line with the interests of Armenia for several reasons.

First, preserve the status quo and not allow appearance of Russian
peacekeepers there, which would end up in dividing Artsakh among
Russia, Turkey and Azerbaijan. Besides, the improvement of relations
between Iran and the West would open up big economic opportunities
in the Armenian-Iranian direction.

Recently the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs have visited the region and
most probably they have arranged a Sargsyan-Aliyev meeting after a
pause of two years. It is interesting what Serzh Sargsyan has conveyed
to Hassan Rowhani that there will be a usual meeting and there is no
need to worry or expect surprises or Sargsyan apologized to Rowhani
not only for the ministry of energy but also for his upcoming meeting
with Aliyev during which Armenia may give a “customsunionish” consent.

By the way, this topic itself is a separate issue for the
Armenian-Iranian relation, considering the issue of customs Union. As
soon as Armenia becomes a member of the Customs Union, issues relating
to new customs procedures will come up as to what customs duties should
be charged, how the joint Iranian-Armenian economic programs will be
implemented. It is not accidental that Rowhani expressed hope during
the meeting with Armen Movsisyan that the joint Armenian-Iranian
programs will be accelerated. The Iranian side has concerns which
are related to not only developments relating to Artsakh but also
Armenia’s commitment to the Customs Union.

Hakob Badalyan 17:00 08/11/2013 Story from Lragir.am News:

http://www.lragir.am/index/eng/0/comments/view/31269

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