The war between Azerbaijan and Armenia stopped when the two countries agreed to a deal brokered by Russia on November 10. The deal ended more than six weeks of deadly clashes that killed thousands on both sides but raised new concerns over the future of Nagorno-Karabakh and the geopolitics of the region as a whole, the Tehran Times reported.
"Although the November deal was welcomed by regional countries as a positive development toward peace and security, it sparked confusion and concerns in some countries in the region that need to be addressed as soon as possible," the article said.
The deal established a new route connecting Armenia with Nagorno-Karabakh. The November 10 statement contained an article that spoke of "new transport links" between Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, which caused serious controversy - and in some cases concern as the fighting took place far from Nakhchivan.
The last article of the ceasefire agreement reads vaguely: “All economic and transport connections in the region shall be unblocked. The Republic of Armenia shall guarantee the security of transport connections between the western regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in order to arrange unobstructed movement of persons, vehicles and cargo in both directions. The Border Guard Service of the Russian Federal Security Service shall be responsible for overseeing the transport connections. As agreed by the Parties, new transport links shall be built to connect the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and the western regions of Azerbaijan.”
"This article was apparently left out of public discussion intentionally given the sensitivity of the issue. The deal speaks of “new transport links” between mainland Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan but it does not say where and when these links will be established. Will they be constructed near Iran’s border with Armenia? If yes, how will they affect border movements between Iran and Armenia?" the author added.
The public put pressure on Iranian officials to give a clear answer to these questions. They tried to allay fears about this by stating that the Iranian government will protect the country's national interests. But they did not - or perhaps could not - provide any details about the Nakhchivan-Azerbaijan route.
During his visit to Baku, Iranian FM Mohammad Javad Zarif met with several high-ranking Azerbaijani officials, including Ilham Aliyev and Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov.
Zarif discussed with Bayramov issues related to the East-West and North-South corridors, the Iranian and Azeri FMs said in a statement."The Iranian foreign minister finally described the establishment of calm in the region as a great opportunity for mutual cooperation in the transit industry and bringing into operation the East-West and the North-South corridors," the Iranian statement said.
The Azerbaijani MFA confirmed that the two ministers discussed the issue of corridors, implying that the Nakhchivan-Azerbaijan corridor was also discussed.
"During the meeting, the ministers discussed the current situation in the region, the implementation of the trilateral statements of November 10, 2020 and January 11, 2021. It was noted that new opportunities for cooperation have been opened up in the region, including the prospects for the development of North-South and South-West transport and transit corridors," Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday.