Our Analytics 25 january — 12:03

Azerbaijani-Iranian good-neighbourliness is worth a lot (Our comment)

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BY IKRAM NUR, AZERI DAILY AUTHOR

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif is already in Baku, which means the beginning of his tour dedicated to Tehran's search for its place in the new South Caucasian realities. Within the framework of the visit of the head of Iranian diplomacy, trips to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Russia and Turkey are planned, however, the visit to Ankara is still in the process of being finalised.

Tehran faces a daunting task. Baku's brilliant victory in the 44-day Patriotic War created new regional realities in the South Caucasus so rapidly that Iran, which for decades was a co-sponsor of the process around Nagorno-Karabakh, simply could not keep up with the events.

Zarif's task is quite obvious -- to understand where is Iran's place now in regional layouts? And are the prospects offered by Baku so bright -- that is from a cosponsor of the peace process to become a cosponsor of the formation of a new economic and geopolitical space in the South Caucasus.

The questions, you see, are not the simplest ones, here the principle of 'look before your leap' is the best applicable. But Javad Zarif is strong as a diplomat and a politician because he is fluent in the art of 'lookinf and leaping' for the good of Iran. And even in seemingly hopeless situations he does it masterly.

His task is facilitated by Baku's completely transparent position in relation to the post-war realities: the maximum possible has been achieved by military means, now the time has come for peaceful construction, in which there will be a place on a mutually beneficial basis for all who show goodwill.

Frankly speaking, it has been a long time since Tehran received such lucrative offers, moreover, those that do not contain a 'double back.' The economic and political benefits of the new format of the South Caucasus, which Ankara, Baku and Tbilisi are ready to create, for Iran and its economy are quite obvious.

How will it turn out with Biden and when all this will happen is 'a pie in the sky.' And the new logistics, opening up opportunities for increasing Iranian trade and reaching the desired pairing for the Iranian leadership with the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, is a very specific and decent offer.

Tehran and Javad Zarif, as its main emissary, fully understand this -- just pay attention to what the head of Iranian diplomacy has already said in Baku: 'We would like to provide assistance so that the residents of the liberated territories could return to their places of residence.'

He added that 'on Monday he plans to discuss with representatives of the Azerbaijani side the issue of restoring the territories affected by the hostilities, the situation in Karabakh, as well as maintaining stability in the region.' In fact, 'a' has already been pronounced, it remains to clarify 'b,' that is, to reach specific agreements on Iran's participation in the 'New South Caucasus' project initiated by Ilham Aliyev.

Tehran's suspicion that it will be on the side-lines in this project, which the Iranians categorically dislike, is unfounded. The potential of such a powerful regional player as Iran, its possibilities in negotiations with Moscow and Yerevan is the contribution of such a political weight that automatically brings it to the fore.

And the traditional Azerbaijani-Iranian good-neighbourliness is worth a lot, especially since the plans to deepen the economic partnership between Baku and Tehran did not arise from scratch, but were worked out by the two sides long and carefully, with a backlog for the future.

And now a unique chance has arisen for their implementation for the benefit of the peoples of the two countries, for the benefit of the future of South Caucasus. Together, all the difficulties and roughness of the upcoming joint work are quite surmountable. And today Baku says: 'Welcome to the common cause, Mr Zarif!'

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