Azerbaijan picks a surprise fight with Iran

Iran and Azerbaijan have stepped back from the brink after a series of rhetorical barbs, territorial complaints and military provocations, a spike in tensions that reflects fast-shifting alliances and intensifying power games in the region.

The dust-up ensued after Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev gave an interview to the Turkish Anadolu Agency on September 28 wherein he accused Iranian truck drivers and fuel transporters of violating his country’s territorial integrity by moving goods to Armenia through the Goris-Kapan road in Armenia’s southeastern Syunik Province, which Azerbaijan claims as its own.

President Aliyev said the road that previously facilitated Iran-Armenia border trade was captured and is now owned by Azerbaijan after the 44-day Nagorno-Karabakh War in 2020. He said in the same interview that about 60 Iranian trucks attempted to enter the contested Nagorno-Karabakh enclave between August 11 and September 11, in breach of Azerbaijan’s rules.

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