عنوان مقاله [English]
Introduction: The Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan have been at loggerheads over the Nagorno-Karabakh region since its inception and there have been bloody wars between the two sides. The Nagorno-Karabakh crisis began when the Karabakh parliament voted on June 12, 1988, for the complete secession of Nagorno-Karabakh from the Republic of Azerbaijan and its accession to Armenia. This region is legally within the borders of Azerbaijan, but the majority of its inhabitants are Armenians. In the last years of Soviet life, clashes broke out between the two sides and hundreds of thousands were displaced. In 1992, a full-scale war broke out between the two countries. The clashes lasted for more or less until 1994 when a ceasefire was mediated by Russia. After that, the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the surrounding areas came under the control of Armenia. Karabakh region is of strategic, geopolitical, and geo-economic importance for Iran. For this reason, this crisis has had a great impact on Iran's security and Iran has repeatedly tried to end this conflict by adopting an active policy of neutrality. The Islamic Republic of Iran has taken mediation measures to prevent bloodshed and killings in the region. Azerbaijani officials expected Iran, like Turkey, to support them and cut ties with Armenia, not to mediate. In any case, Iran sided with Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict due to the pursuit of pan-Azarist policies and the idea of unification of Azerbaijan and anti-Iranian positions by the government of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the first decade of independence. Iran's policy is more inclined towards Armenia and despite the cultural and historical commonalities with the Shiite Republic of Azerbaijan, it is more inclined towards Christian Armenia. The latest ceasefire violation dates back to September 2020, when the two countries began a new war again, despite the outbreak of the Corona Virus. In the recent crisis, we are witnessing a turnaround in Iran's policy. In this crisis, Iran supports the government of Azerbaijan and explicitly emphasizes the right of Azerbaijan to the ownership of the region. During his speech on the conflict, the Supreme Leader of the Revolution stated that all the occupied territories of Azerbaijan should be evacuated and handed over to Azerbaijan and that Yerevan should know that any occupation is condemned.
Research Question: The main question of the article is how to analyze Iran's foreign policy in the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis based on a constructive approach? This study seeks to analyze the factors influencing the turnaround in Iran's foreign policy in the face of the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis from the tendency towards Armenia to a resolute defense of Azerbaijani policy.
Research Hypothesis: The Hypothesis posed by the above-mentioned question is that factors such as Islamic-Shia ideology, modification of ethnic and Pan-Azarist policies of Azarbyjan and subsequently its orientation toward realism and pragmatism, reciprocally westernizing foreign policy of Armenia and intensifying the internal oppositions against the early foreign policy of Iran in supporting the Cristian Armani state caused the change in Iran foreign policy toward the crisis.
Methodology: Using the qualitative method of analysis, this research wants to analyze the factors of change in Iran's policy toward the Karabakh crisis. In other words, the authors explain the factors of convergence and divergence in relations between Iran and Azerbaijan. The nature of this writing or the method of analyzing is qualitative. The data collection has been through the library method, the use of internet resources, articles, and documents.
Results and Discussion: Analyzing from a constructivist point of view, the behavior of the actors of international relations is formed during social interactions, this, in turn, determines their identity and consequently, their interests. The cultural, social, and political structures governing the structure of the political system and foreign policy of Iran and Azerbaijan and the formation of identity and interests of the two countries based on it, in the early years of Azerbaijan's independence, led to divergence in relations between the two countries. Iran turned to Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis. Gradually, however, with the fading of ideological orientation and the tendency of the two countries towards pragmatism and realism, as well as the redefinition of the mentioned structures, more convergent relations were experienced between the two countries. In general, according to what has been said, the perspective of the relations between the two countries can be described in such a way that despite the opportunities that exist in some areas, relations between the two countries will also face challenges. The shift of Iran's policy towards the interests of Azerbaijan, especially during the recent Nagorno-Karabakh crisis and meeting the expectations of this country, as well as the adoption of realistic policies by the Azerbaijani government and reducing reliance on relations with the West and diversification in foreign relations have a more positive outlook.
Conclusion: The challenges in the relations between the two countries regarding the legal regime of the Caspian Sea, the development of relations with Armenia, and the proximity of Azerbaijan to the United States and Israel should not be overlooked. In this regard, especially the issue of establishing a US military base in Azerbaijan can have a decisive impact on relations between the two countries. However, the Azerbaijani government has realized more than ever the importance of relations with Iran. In recent years, mobility in relations between the two countries has increased. There are many economic opportunities around Iran, one of which is the transfer of Iranian gas through the Caspian Sea to Georgia. Development of investment in the Caspian Sea, which is demanded by Azerbaijan, is not possible without the presence and cooperation of Iran. In general, compared to the early years of Azerbaijan's independence, a more favorable environment has been provided for the improvement and development of relations between the two countries.