Regional Power Rivalries in the New Eurasia: Russia, Turkey, and Iran

By Alvin Z. Rubinstein; Oles M. Smolansky | Go to book overview

4
Azerbaijan and Iran

Gareth M. Winrow

The disintegration of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War, and the death of Ayatollah Khomeini facilitated the development of relations between the newly independent former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Although there are now opportunities to further ties, the unresolved issue of national identity may still pose problems for future relations between the two states. Changes on the domestic scene may encourage or constrain the development of bilateral relations. The regional context must also be taken into account. The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and the security interests of Russia have influenced the policies of officials in both Baku and Tehran.

Iran and Azerbaijan have close historical, cultural, and ethnic links. The two share a mixed Persian-Turkic heritage. Of the former Soviet republics that are Muslim, Azerbaijan is the only predominantly Shiite Muslim state. Today's independent Azerbaijan was long a battleground between the Persian and Ottoman and later Persian and Russian empires. The border between Iran and Azerbaijan was basically drawn up by the treaties of Gulistan and Turkmanchai in 1813 and 1828 after Russian victories over the Persian Empire. Family ties across this border remain. A large Azerbaijani population is concentrated in northern Iran. However, even before the Russian conquests, the current border between Iran and Azerbaijan running largely along the Araks River had been a sort of dividing line between a northern and a southern Azerbaijan.

The Russian factor was clearly of crucial importance in the formation of

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Regional Power Rivalries in the New Eurasia: Russia, Turkey, and Iran
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • About the Editors And Contributors vii
  • Preface ix
  • Note xii
  • Part I- Old Rivals, New Relationships 1
  • 1: The Russian Federation and Turkey 3
  • 2: Moscow and Tehran The Wary Accommodation 26
  • Part II- Cis and Iran 63
  • 3: Ukraine and Iran 65
  • 4: Azerbaijan and Iran 93
  • 5: Iran and Tajikistan 112
  • Part III- The Turkish Factor 145
  • 6: Iran and Turkey Confrontation Across An Ideological Divide 147
  • 7: Turkey and Central Asia Reality Comes Calling 169
  • Part IV A Russian "Monroe Doctrine" In the Making? 199
  • 8: Russia and Transcaucasia The Case of Nagorno-Karabakh 201
  • 9: Russia and Tajikistan 231
  • 10: The Asian Interior The Geopolitical Pull on Russia 252
  • Conclusion 271
  • Index 279
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