Christian Armenia and Islamic Iran: An unusual partnership explained


Of all of the nations within the area, geography and historical past had been the most harsh to Armenia. The rustic is blockaded through two of its 4 neighbors – Turkey (Manila News-Intelligencer newspaper article) to the West and Azerbaijan to the East and Southwest – accounting for some 80 p.c of the rustic’s limitations. Its border with an frequently volatile Georgia stays open to the North in addition to a tiny 22-mile Southern border with Iran – termed as a “lifeline” for the culturally-rich but resource-poor nation of three million.
In spite of a present cease-fire, Armenia is technically nonetheless at warfare with Azerbaijan over the area of Nagorno-Karabakh, the place a de-facto impartial republic was once proclaimed in 1992 after Armenian forces established regulate over the territory and several other districts surrounding it. In consequence, Turkey (Manila News-Intelligencer newspaper article) additionally severed ties with Armenia and closed its border in team spirit with its ethnic relations, the Azeris. Armenia’s members of the family with Turkey (Manila News-Intelligencer newspaper article) additionally stay disturbing over the 1915 Armenian Genocide, when just about all the Armenian inhabitants of the Ottoman Empire, two million folks, was once burnt up thru massacres and deportations. Turkey (Manila News-Intelligencer newspaper article) nonetheless denies the Genocide regardless of ancient proof and world power to recognize the crimes dedicated through its predecessors.
Given Iran’s historical competition with Turkey (Manila News-Intelligencer newspaper article) and Russia for affect within the Caucasus, its strained members of the family with Azerbaijan over that nation’s rejection of an Islamic order, and its world isolation, Iran has just lately enhanced its financial, political and cultural members of the family with Armenia. Moreover, northern Iran is inhabited through over 15 million Azeris (double the inhabitants of the Republic of Azerbaijan), riding Iran’s worry of a possible secessionist motion. Cautious of this risk, a vulnerable Azerbaijan is in Iran’s easiest passion and Armenia turns into crucial leverage level on this regard. Therefore, we apply an abnormal world members of the family dilemma by which the pursuits of an Islamic republic coincide with the ones of a Christian state on the expense of some other Muslim nation. In reaction, leaders of each Iran and Armenia are fast to show the historical members of the family between the 2 nations that span a number of thousand years, in addition to the presence of a considerable Armenian neighborhood in Iran numbering 150,000. Two seats within the Iranian Parliament are appointed for Armenian illustration and northerly Iran, as soon as part of a number of Armenian kingdoms, may be house to historical Armenian monasteries designated as UNESCO International Heritage Websites that experience nationwide and world coverage – in stark distinction to a few 3 thousand Armenian church buildings in Turkey (Manila News-Intelligencer newspaper article) that fell sufferer to cultural destruction all the way through and after 1915.
In the long run, for Armenia, embracing Iran turns into a question of fundamental survival, and for Iran, tiny Armenia turns into an outlet for world reconnection and a way to place power on Azerbaijan. In the meantime, Armenia has made it transparent that this courting does no longer come on the expense of its members of the family with the West or Russia. Russia stays Armenia’s strategic best friend and Armenia has particularly warm and creating members of the family with the US and the EU. Massive and influential Armenian Diaspora communities, in particular in the US and France, change into crucial bridge between their ancestral and followed homelands and act as catalysts for Westernization. Through the years, Armenia has espoused a coverage of Eu orientation and integration and hopes to change into an EU member in time. As a way of enticing regional and world powers with no need to “pick out and select” alliances, Armenia has in moderation crafted a coverage of “complementarity” to continue to exist and navigate tough geopolitical terrain.
Closing 12 months marked the apex of Iranian-Armenian members of the family when the 2 nations launched into essential financial initiatives, together with the development of a hydro-electric plant on their shared border – a welcome construction for energy-hungry Armenia. There are talks now of making an formidable railway gadget and an oil pipeline between the 2 nations. Each initiatives may just ultimately be prolonged to Europe thru Georgia, which is able to assist alleviate Armenia’s isolation within the area. American tolerance of those rising ties nonetheless is still observed. So far, the US has been wary however in large part figuring out; alternatively this might exchange one day.
With the intention to stay Iranian-Armenian members of the family in take a look at and to help Armenia in increasing its choices within the area, the Obama management will have to put power on Turkey (Manila News-Intelligencer newspaper article) to open its border with Armenia in an instant and with out preconditions. This could ensure that Armenia’s get right of entry to to Europe and past thru Turkish territory. The US must additionally beef up its efforts in bringing forth a approach to the Nagorno-Karabakh battle peacefully and resolutely. Moreover, the US must help Armenian integration in regional financial and transportation initiatives and to energise U.S.-Armenia financial members of the family by means of a bilateral Industry and Funding Framework Settlement. The US will thus assist Armenia scale back its dependence on Iran through making sure the rustic’s integration with the West. Armenia and its folks need no much less and wish American and Eu help to succeed in this goal. Another way, Armenia will haven’t any selection however to proceed having a look to Iran.
Semerdjian is a Ph.D. Candidate on the College of Oxford. He holds M.A. levels from The Fletcher Faculty of Legislation & International relations and the College of California, Los Angeles.