The secretary of Iran’s Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, hosts his Armenian counterpart Armen Grigoryan in Tehran, April 9, 2023.

Senior Armenian Official Visits Iran


By Nane Sahakian

TEHRAN (Azatutyun) — The secretary of Armenia’s Security Council, Armen Grigoryan, reportedly praised Iran’s policy towards the South Caucasus when he visited Tehran on Sunday amid escalating tensions between the Islamic Republic and Azerbaijan.

Grigoryan’s office said that he discussed with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Shamkhani, the “security situation in the region” and Armenian-Iranian relations. It gave no details of their “working dinner.”

Iranian news agencies reported that Grigoryan praised Iran for “promoting regional peace and stability” and said forging closer links with Tehran is a “top priority” for the Armenian government.

Shamkhani was reported to reaffirm Tehran’s opposition to any “geographic change” in the region.

Iranian leaders have repeatedly made such statements in response to Azerbaijan’s demands for an extraterritorial corridor to the Nakhichevan exclave that would pass through Syunik, the only Armenian province bordering Iran. They have warned against attempts to strip the Islamic Republic of the common border and transport links with Armenia.

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Lingering tensions between Iran and Azerbaijan have flared up in recent weeks partly due to Baku’s deepening ties with Tehran’s archenemy Israel, highlighted by the opening of an Azerbaijani embassy in Tel Aviv.

Meeting with his visiting Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov late last month, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen reportedly declared that the two nations will form a “united front” against Iran. The Iranian Foreign Ministry challenged Baku to explain the implications of that statement.

Last week, Azerbaijani authorities expelled four Iranian Embassy employees and arrested six men who they said are linked to Iran’s secret services. They also alleged Iranian involvement in an assassination attempt on an anti-Tehran Azerbaijani lawmaker.

Bayramov and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian discussed the rising tensions in a phone call on Saturday.

Amir-Abdollahian’s deputy, Ali Bagheri Kani, visited Yerevan late last month for what the Armenian Foreign Ministry described as “regular political consultations” between the two neighboring states. Kani spoke out against the presence of “external forces” in the South Caucasus.

Hakob Badalyan, an Armenian political analyst, suggested on Monday that Yerevan has intensified diplomatic contacts with Tehran and other foreign partners recently to try to reduce heightened risks to regional security.

“I regard the interaction with Iran as one of the most important directions in this [endeavor,]” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.


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