Vardan Voskanyan

Proposal of Alternative Road through Iran Is An Attempt to Pressure Armenia to Create Zangezur Corridor

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YEREVAN — The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan stated at a press conference to Turkish media on August 9 that Baku could be connected to Nakhichevan through the territory of Iran. Iranologist Vardan Voskanyan, who is the head of the Department of Iranian Studies at Yerevan State University, commented: “If Azerbaijan has an alternative, then I think it is meaningless to talk about the ‘Zangezur Corridor’ they dreamed of. They just would have to use that [other] road, but I want to point out that the reality here is different. Azerbaijan has no alternative, and the foreign policy of dictatorial Azerbaijan’s Minister of  Foreign Affairs Jeyhun Bayramov is just trying to pull off a propaganda and political trick. With this [statement], he is simply trying to exert pressure on the Republic of Armenia” to create a corridor through Zangezur.

The Iranologist explained further: “I have noted many times that the aforementioned road through the territory of Iran already existed after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Armenian liberation of the area near the Araks River of Artsakh in the 1990s. At that time, it ran directly parallel to the Iranian border with Artsakh and Armenia, along the southern banks of the Araks. Now the situation has changed a little. As a result of the 44-day war, with the Azerbaijani occupation of the area near the Araks, the part of that road passing through Iranian territory will be reduced by about 100 kilometers, at the expense of the occupied Artsakh part, entering Iran not beyond Horadis, but right near the border of Armenia. They want to shorten this road by several bridges.”

Voskanyan also commented on Bayramov’s statement that if Armenia does not provide a land connection between Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan, it will be cut off from regional projects and only suffer, declaring: “Bayramov’s statement is false. How is it possible to believe that barbaric Azerbaijan wants to act to make us benefit. This cannot be the case. Therefore, we should do the exact opposite of what our enemy said.

“As for Iran’s part, I would like to note that having that road in their territory, they have an additional lever to control Azerbaijan, because they carefully check all the cargo transported from Azerbaijan to Nakhichevan, and it is very clear that Iran will prohibit the transfer of weapons, which is not advantageous at all for Azerbaijan.”

“In this way, Tehran is trying to weaken the Turkish-Azerbaijani pressure on Armenia regarding the so-called Zangezur Corridor. It is clear that Bayramov cannot talk about the corridor through the territory of Iran,” said Voskanyan.

Voskanyan also believes that there cannot be any route crossing through Armenian territory not under the control of Armenia, because this would be fraught with many dangers for the latter. He said: “It is necessary to clearly proclaim that Turkey and Azerbaijan will not get any corridor through the territory of Armenia, because it will have disastrous consequences for Armenia. Basically, it is proposed to open what was originally called the Turan Corridor by the Turks, but renamed due to the sensitivity to this term in Armenia, Iran and Russia.”

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