After years of rising tensions, the July visit to Baku by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has signaled increased diplomacy between Azerbaijan and Iran. The apparent new détente brings positives for both sides.
For Iran, reconciliation with its northwestern neighbor will allow it to play a bigger role in the South Caucasus. Meanwhile, with improved relations with Tehran, Baku can focus its resources and attention elsewhere. Such efforts have also reduced the chances of a regional crisis breaking out, even as the flareup of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh may add complexities.
Pursuit of rapprochement
Amir-Abdollahian, on July 5, visited Baku to attend a ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement. In a sign of a thaw in bilateral ties, the Iranian chief diplomat notably met Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on the sidelines of the summit. The meeting marked a surprise breakthrough between the two previously antagonistic states.
As Amwaj. media has reported a rift between Azerbaijan and Iran has been widening in recent years. This has particularly been true since Baku’s victory over Yerevan in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war. Iran sought to avoid taking sides in the conflict but is notably a close ally of the defeated Armenia.