Document Type : Research Paper
Assistant Prof. of Political Geography, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
Assistant Prof. of Political Geography, University of Maragheh, Maragheh, Iran
In the first place, the trade-economic relations between countries require to supplementary contexts and fields. The supplementary contexts and fields act in the strengthening of economic relations as the main container of the trade-economic relations between countries. The trade-economic relations of Iran and Azerbaijan also are not exempted from this. In the economic relations between Iran and Azerbaijan have different geopolitical specifications including the historical, cultural likenesses and geographical dependencies as the main configuration of complementary contexts. However, according to the evidences, the present process in the bilateral economic relations is not satisfactory in comparison to economic relations of Iran’s regional rivals with Azerbaijan. In other words, the economic relations of the parties are suffering from some geopolitical obstacles. Thus, the question is that despite the geographical and geopolitical dependences or very fertile environment for deepening the relations between Iran and Azerbaijan, what are the most important geopolitical reasons for the weakness in the economic relations between the parties?
With respect to theoretical foundations, the actual method applied in the present research is analytical-descriptive. Library, internet and raw statistical data have been used for data collection and indexing. This research has been done in two different and completely interrelated sections. The first is that the economic potential of Azerbaijan, the strategic-economic importance of this Republic in the Iran’s North geopolitical axis and especially the current trends in the economic relations of Iran with Azerbaijan (in this research, statistical data related to current trends in the trade relations between Iran and Azerbaijan were obtained from the Tehran Chamber of Commerce and After the necessary calculations in the form of the analyzed statistics used in the context of the research). The data were reviewed and analyzed and then, in the next section of research by descriptive - analytical focusing on the differences between Iran - Azerbaijanon the Caspian Sea legal status, the political - geopolitical consequences of Nagorno-Karabakh crisis, opposition on the nationalist approaches (Turkish - Iranian) and strategic nature of Azerbaijan's relations with the U.S. and Israeli have been studied and analyzed as the main geopolitical factors of weakness in the bilateral economic relations or the most important geopolitical obstacles against the strengthening of the bilateral economic relations.
Results and Discussion
The nature of geopolitical factors of weakness in economic relations between Iran and Azerbaijan are so complex that each of them is easily influenced by negative feelings of the parties against each other. In fact, aside from the common religious identity (Shiite identity) between Iranians and Azerbaijanis, in front of Shiite identity and nationalism of Iranian state, Azerbaijani state is recognized by secular identity and Turkish nationalism. These affect subsidiary issues causing a geopolitical hostile negative mentality in the national attitudes of Tehran - Baku against each other. According to the evidence, the bilateral economic relations are somehow a victim of the same geopolitical hostile space.
Among these, in one hand, Baku claims that along with the continuation of Nagorno-Karabakh crisis, deepening of Iran’s relations with Armenia are against the Armenian occupation policies in Nagorno-Karabakh and the kind of nationalist degrading attitude towards Azerbaijan's independence by some of the Iranians as well as the nature of the relations between Baku and the West or Israel are the greatest threats to the independent existence of Azerbaijan state.
In front, Tehran also claims that the increased presence and influence of Israel and the West in Azerbaijan Republic as well as the reflection of Baku Turkish nationalism on the North West of Iran is completely in contrast with the interests and national security of Iran. These claims with deep disputes in determining the legal status of the Caspian Sea and its side issues has changed the general trend of mutual relations, especially in trade-economic field as the kind of mentality is quite negative. The mentality has not produced anything other than political disintegration between Iran and Azerbaijan and consequently weakening of the economic relations between the parties. It may also establish a deep geopolitical distance in the nature of Iranian economic relations with Azerbaijan relative to those with other regional competitors, especially Turkey.
According to the results of this research, the general process of relations between Iran and Azerbaijan, particularly the economic relations of the parties, are engaged by important geopolitical obstacles. In other words, the economic relations between Iran and Azerbaijan are suffering from some geopolitical obstacles such as the problem of the Caspian Sea legal status, the political-geopolitical consequences of Nagorno-Karabakh crisis, contrasting nationalist approaches of the two parties and strategic relations of Azerbaijan with US and Israel. Although in this process the political obstacles are periodical, but because of the more stability in geopolitical obstacles, they are playing a major role in weakening or stopping of the economic relations growth between the two countries.
In general, given the discussion on the geopolitical weakness factors in economic bilateral relations or geopolitical obstacles on the economic relations, now, it seems that the best way to reduce the obstacles and the subsequent return of economic confidence in the relations is the formation of a scientific and absolutely impartial committee with the participation of experts in history, economy and international relations of the two countries. to the committee are to study the bilateral relations and the resources of strengths and threats of the relations and common strategic - economic interests and review of the documents of parties., This may contribute to a peaceful national - strategic - economic relations in interests for mutual understanding on the weakness and strengthening factors in bilateral economic relations. Hence, it is necessary that both the states have agreed to common principles as the basis of commercial - economic transactions to make decisions for the future.