A manufactured crisis Azerbaijan must avoid

October 24, 2021 - 23:14

TEHRAN — After Amir Abdollahian’s phone call with his Azeri counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov, Iranian social media exploded with an astounding piece of news. The Republic of Azerbaijan blocked the Azeri Sahar TV website, as well as religious websites close to Iran.

Of course, the websites had been blocked in the Saturday morning, but the news, whether unintentionally, or deliberately, began to circulate after the phone call took place. 

Iranian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers held the second phone conversation in less than a month amid transit dispute between Tehran and Baku.

The two spoke of mutual respect and expansion of ties, but the recent move by the Azerbaijani authorities is inexplicable, and beyond words. 

The conflict between Iran and Azerbaijan is an affair that can be solved by the two countries in a friendly and diplomatic atmosphere. However, those who do not wish well for the two countries have seized this opportunity and are now trying to add fuel to the fire. 

The Azerbaijan administration must distance itself from ill-intentioned advisors such as the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

FDD, known for its notoriously shallow and dishonest CEO Mark Dubowitz, has taken a new strategy with regard to Iran-Azerbaijan issue. They have sent a lobbyist with a cover identity of “energy policy specialist” named Brenda Shaffer. She has been referred to as a lobbyist on behalf of Azerbaijan, and has faced criticism over her writing of political articles and books related to Azerbaijan while hiding her commercial ties to the Azerbaijani government.

Shaffer has been proactively infuriating the Azeri authorities by trying to provoke Iranian Azeri citizens to take drastic measures to –in her dreams- and join the Republic of Azerbaijan. 

A wolf disguised as a sheep, she has been propagating against using Persian as the official language as mentioned in the Iranian constitution. Seemingly, FDD has given her a promotion, as she is now provoking the Arab citizens in Iran as well. 

This sedition is being followed by the Turkish administration as well, although unknowingly. Erdogan has been playing in the wrong field. It seems that both presidents are being briefed by the wrong people, and need to update their information.

Shaffer criticized Iran’s logical decision to suspend trade with the Karabakh region in order to respect the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan, saying that the decision is violating the territorial integrity of the Azerbaijan. An absurd analysis of course, but one cannot expect more from FDD experts. 

The recent decision to ban and block Sahar TV, an Iranian network in Azerbaijan is a volatile move by the Azeri authorities, clearly fueled by ill-intended advisors.

It is best for the leaders of Azerbaijan and Turkey to distance themselves from the U.S.-Israeli sedition to create sectarian rift among different ethnicities in Iran. The Iranians are well aware of these cheap tricks. 

SA/PA

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