As tensions rise between Armenia and Azerbaijan and a new criminal Azeri attack looks more likely, several daily newspapers in Iran wrote on Monday about the dangers of a new war in the region and its potential impact on Tehran's geopolitical influence.
The threat of a new conflict between Iran's two northern neighbors is driven by the Zangezur Corridor that Azerbaijan wants to create to connect its mainland with the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan.
This corridor would also create a land link between Azerbaijan and its top regional ally, Turkey. At the same time, it will cut the link between Iran and Armenia, which is vital for Tehran to maintain a land link with Russia.
Ham Mihan newspaper, under the headline "Crisis Corridor", wrote that Ankara has assured Azerbaijan of its full support in the event of a new war, adding that Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan has reportedly warned Iran about military aid to Armenia during his visit to Tehran last week.
"For the past two years, Baku and Ankara have been assessing the seriousness of Iran's military intervention in the event of a new war for the corridor. However, military action by Azerbaijan would be unlikely unless they are sure that Iran will not put the his military support behind Armenia, as he did in Syria," the newspaper wrote.
At the same time, the Sazandegi newspaper wrote that Israel and Turkey support Azerbaijan in this three-decade conflict, while Iran's attitude towards the recent developments in and around Nagorno-Karabakh is closer to the policy of the US and France.
Sazandegi columnist Amir Abbas Nahai warned that the current military buildup and ongoing skirmishes could trigger a new humanitarian disaster similar to the Armenian genocide of 1915-17.
"Baku's revisionist plans for Karabakh, which are supported by Ankara, have put Armenians living in the region in a situation that could lead to a new genocide," the newspaper noted.
Despite religious and ideological differences, relations between the two states remain largely cordial and both are strategic partners in the region. Armenia and Iran are neighboring countries in West Asia and also share a common land border of 44 km.
Stepan Safarian of the Armenian Center for National and International Studies commented on the Armenia-Iran relationship, stating: "The Armenia-Iran relationship is the most important for Armenia: "Given this geopolitical environment, Armenia has the legal right to cooperate with the Iran to ensure its security... After all, Armenia has an energy surplus and its only major export market at the moment is Iran... So there is also a great economic interest."
Due to the intertwined history of the two nations, and with Armenians having a native presence in what is now northwestern Iran for millennia, many of the oldest Armenian churches and monasteries are located within Iran, such as the Monastery of St. Stephen and the Monastery of St. Thaddeus, including. Armenia and Iran also share extensive tourism and trade ties.