News 14 october — 18:03

Ural Khatami: Iran won't dare even to start limited armed conflict with Azerbaijan

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BY JEYHUN NAJAFOV, STAFF CORRESPONDENT

Recent weeks have seen an escalation of tension in relations between Iran and Azerbaijan. Commenting on the provocative actions of Iran towards Azerbaijan, well-known Iranian political scientist Ural Khatami said in an interview with Azeri Daily that the psychological war launched by Iran against Baku is connected with its victory in the 44-day war.

'Tehran is very annoyed that the Azerbaijanis have independently liberated the occupied lands and regained control over their border with Iran. Tehran has lost the levers of political speculation in relation to Baku and Yerevan, which it had been using for thirty years. In the situation created after the second Karabakh war, Iran, in fact, remained out of the game and is now trying to extract at least some dividends for itself. Finding nothing suitable in the geopolitical game, the Ayatollahs decided to use the factor of the external enemy to strengthen their positions within the country, where the situation is tense to the limit,' said Khatami.

In the opinion of the political scientist, without propaganda hysteria about an imaginary threat from the outside, the entire religious and dogmatic system of the Islamic Republic will collapse like a house of cards: 'That is why Iranian propaganda periodically shuffles the deck with the images of enemies. If in the past people were frightened by America, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, then Israel, now Azerbaijan and Turkey have become the enemies of the Iranians...

'Playing on the imperial ambitions and limitations of nationalists and religious fanatics, propaganda presents the case as if Turkey, with the active support of Azerbaijan, are planning to seize and split Iran, and then subjugate the titular nation -- the Persians. For 42 years of intensive brainwashing, the authorities have become adept at spinning up a nationalist propaganda machine that is based on open chauvinism, on glorifying one ethnic group and belittling all others.'

Commenting on the probability of Iran's armed intervention against the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ural Khatami said: 'I am sure Iran will not dare even to start a limited armed conflict. First, any aggression against Baku will immediately provoke a response from Turkey and, possibly, Pakistan. Second, the authorities of the Islamic Republic, no matter what one says about them, are pragmatic people. They know very well how far behind is the technical level of Iran's armament in relation to Turkish and even the Azerbaijani Army, not to mention other allies and strategic partners of Baku. In the forty-two years that have elapsed since the Islamic revolution, Iran has not been able to bring its armed forces to the level of modern technical and technological equipment. In recent years, due to the acute economic crisis, Tehran has not even been able to form an acceptable military budget. The only resource of the Iranian army in case of war is the huge reserves of "cannon fodder," the ability to overwhelm the enemy with the corpses of soldiers from among the religious fanatics. But in modern warfare, as you know, technology wins, not fanaticism...'

Speaking about the importance of the Zangezur corridor for Iran, the political scientist said that first of all, Tehran was losing one more lever of political and economic influence on Azerbaijan: 'In addition, Tehran believes that the Zangezur corridor is not just a road between Azerbaijan, Nakhchivan and Turkey, but Ankara's access to the vastness of the Turkic-speaking world, the strengthening of the Turkish factor in Minor, Central and Central Asia. Which does not fit into the imperial subconsciousness of Iranian politicians, who consider Zangezur, as, in fact, the entire South Caucasus to be primordially Iranian lands. To some, this may seem an anachronism, but in Iran, many sincerely believe in the revival of the Persian Empire...'

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