Main reason of Iran’s aggression against Azerbaijan: Drug trafficking slipped out of Tehran's hand – ANALYSIS

Main reason of Iran’s aggression against Azerbaijan: Drug trafficking slipped out of Tehran
# 11 October 2021 19:04 (UTC +04:00)

The Tehran regime is further fomenting a "war of nerves" with its inadequate view regarding the results of the 44-day war, which humiliates Azerbaijan at various levels.

In fact, official Baku has endured Tehran’s “whim” for many years. On September 12, Azerbaijan set up a police and customs post on the border with Armenia, on the part of the Gafan-Gorus road passing through Azerbaijan, and our southern neighbor did not like the fact that vehicles with Iranian license plates entering the country are subject to customs duties. Probably, Tehran thinks that Azerbaijan should continue to tolerate its "whims". Before this, official Baku expressed its protest to Iran, demanding to end the passing of Iranian cars with Gafan-Gorus road to Azerbaijani territory, as well as illegal cargo transportation to its territories which are under temporary control of Russian peacekeepers.

However, Iran ignored the protest and continued to supply fuel and other necessary materials to the Armenians. Not content with this, Iran also held large-scale military exercises on the border with Azerbaijan for the first time in 30 years. It is a clear issue that the Tehran regime shows “power” to Baku, and all this has caused protests in Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan’s public opinion has always been sensitive to Iran’s steps. Tehran’s direct participation in the looting of Azerbaijani territories which were under the occupation of Armenians for almost 30 years is not a secret. The occupant country Armenia sold the parts of houses demolished in Karabakh to Iran as construction materials. It is clear to everyone that forests were cut down and transported to Iran.

Visiting Iran in December of 1997 in order to participate in the summit of Heads of States and Governments of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Tehran, Heydar Aliyev expressed his protest in the diplomatic language during a meeting with the Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei.

“Expressing gratitude to the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran for its humanitarian assistance to Azerbaijani refugees, I also regret the political and economic support of many countries to Armenia, which has not given up its unconstructive position in the peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict,” Heydar Aliyev noted.

However, Iran did not draw conclusions from this comment. With the fuel provided by Iran, the called Islamic Republic, Armenian tanks were moving on Azerbaijani territories, killing our civilians. Today, Tehran explains the supply of petrol to Armenia with trade interests. But the facts show that Iran has even sacrificed its interests to the occupant country. Before the 44-day war, Iran exported gasoline to the occupant country at the price of 35 drams (12 coins). According to the results of 2018, general trade turnover between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Armenia amounted to $364 mln. This is the highest figure since 1991. In 2020 this figure reached $400 mln. In the first 6 months of 2021, the trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $224 mln. The issue does not end with the economy alone. The Azerbaijani state and people are rightly dissatisfied with the fact that "Armenia - Stepanakert" was written on the road of papers of drivers transporting fuel from Iran to Khankandi.

During the 30 years of occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia, all infrastructure, culture, religious facilities, property belonging to citizens, and the state were destroyed in these areas, and Armenia damaged natural resources. The most sorrowful thing is that Iran, which calls itself an Islamic country, also closely participated in this process.

Much has been written, said and unrefutable about Iran's involvement in the looting of material resources in our occupied territories - forests, fields, natural minerals, etc., the illegal activities of neighboring companies in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.

During the years of occupation, Armenia and Iran had large-scale economic relations and joint economic projects. A 140-kilometer gas pipeline has been laid between Iran and Armenia.
Construction of the pipeline began on December 20, 2006, and was opened on March 19, 2007.

Armenia carried fuel and weapons to Azerbaijan’s occupied Karabakh territories with trucks supported by Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps. During these years, Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps, in fact, controlled Azerbaijan’s territories under occupation, located on the border with Iran. According to the information of the Western media, Tehran used this route for illegal drug trafficking from Afghanistan to the last destination point-Europe, for a long time. Iranian smugglers driving trucks with license plates in Iran openly carried drugs to Nagorno Karabakh over the Araz river, and to Europe by means of the rear entrance, enough materials have been published in leading world media in this regard. Iran's involvement in drug trafficking, in general, has been proven by indisputable facts.

Taking into account information of Azerbaijan’s custom bodies, it becomes clear that Azerbaijani customs officers revealed 46 facts about illicit trafficking of drugs and psychotropic substances from November 2020, until October 2021. According to these facts, a total of 1 ton 675 kg 418 grams of drugs and psychotropic substances were withdrawn from illegal circulation. More than 99% of drugs withdrawn from illegal trafficking, in other words, 904 kg 152 grams of heroin, 529 kg 545 grams of opium, 44 kg 646 grams of hashish, 195 kg 808 grams of methamphetamine were revealed while transferring to our country through custom posts of Astara, Bilasuvar and Shahtakhti of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic which is the border with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The cases determined during the investigation of the criminal case on these facts give grounds to say that these drug smuggling crimes are mainly carried out by transnational organized criminal groups trying to deliver heroin, methamphetamine, and other dangerous heavy drugs to European black markets via the Iran-Azerbaijan-Georgia- (or Russia) Ukraine route.

In order to secretly transferring these drugs from customs control, drug smugglers tried to transfer them using secret storage places specially designed in auto transport vehicles carrying out international cargo transportation or by covering the appearance of other goods. Territories under the occupation were used as both establishments of drug plantations, production of drug substances, and drug trafficking route from East to West.

The Islamic Republic of Iran distinguished with special activity in using the occupied territories of Azerbaijan as a drug trafficking route. Routes from Afghanistan to the West, also passing through Iran, directed from Azerbaijan’s territories under occupation to Armenia, and from there to Europe. As Azerbaijan’s Zangilan and Jabrayil regions which are on the border with Iran, were under occupation, there was not any problem from transferring drugs through these territories. However, Azerbaijan’s victory and liberation of its lands from the occupation in a 44-day war started on September 27, 2020, created conditions for the restoration of the 132 km border with Iran. This also caused the closure of the drug trafficking route which operated smoothly for nearly 30 years. In the next period, taking under control 23 km part of Gorus-Gafan road passing through Azerbaijani territory, the remained opportunities regarding drug trafficking were also restricted. What irritates the Tehran regime is losing millions obtained from the drug trade. The regime of Tehran understands that, soon, their work will be more difficult in this field. Thus, the establishment of the Zangazur corridor which will connect Azerbaijan’s main part with Nakhchivan and Turkey is envisaged. Iran is one of the countries which try to hinder the establishment of this corridor. Iranian side assumes that the launch of the corridor will completely close the drug trafficking route directed to Armenia from this country. Mollahcracy is irritated to lose control over the drug trade.

It is also known that drug trafficking issues have been directly under the control of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) and the amount gained from here has been directed to meet the needs of the organization, including the financing of terrorist organizations and groups abroad. It is interesting that until the Patriotic War, even within a year after the war, Iran, which does not have any problem with Azerbaijan, has again resumed its aggressive rhetoric and started to issue threatening statements immediately after the Zangazur Corridor issue was actualized.

To note that majority of trucks sent to Armenia and occupied territory of Karabakh belongs to “Nasr Novin Mishu” company locating in the northwestern Iranian cities, Sufian and Tabriz. “Nasr Novin Mishu” company is one of the subsidiary companies of “Nasr” company, which operates in northwestern Iran under the auspices of SEPAH.

Trucks coming from the northwest part of Iran have entered the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan using at least two different routes, alongside this, satellite images show two intersection points. One of the most common routes is the Gorus-Lachin highway leading from Tabriz to the Armenian-Iranian border, to Mehri, and to Khankendi.

The second route leads from the northeast of Khumarli in Iran's Ardabil province to the Jabrayil region, which crosses part of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border controlled by Armenia since the early 1990s. Armenian control over the Azerbaijani territory at a border with Iran’s northwestern region is politically affordable for Tehran. This means a “Buffer Zone’ between Azerbaijan and Irans’s northwestern regions where Azerbaijanis live.

Tehran accuses Baku of cooperating with Israel. But it is known to everyone that official Baku has partially balanced its open strategic partnership with the US and Israel, and thought about normal good neighborly relations with Iran. But Tehran has never appreciated this gesture of Baku. Allegations of official Tehran regarding allegedly the presence of Zionists and terrorists in Azerbaijan, which does not meet Iran's interests and poses a threat to the Islamic State are baseless. Because, after Azerbaijan has restored its independence, from time to time, also in 2020, Iran has consistently made accusations of cooperation with Israel and made threats against Azerbaijan. But Tehran has not identified even one single fact so far. But Baku has enough causes to accuse Iran. Iran builds the closest relations with a country that occupied Azerbaijani territories.

Tehran, which attaches special importance to the construction of a road and railway connecting Iran with Armenia, wanted to get access to the Black Sea from the Persian Gulf and from there to Bulgaria but did call on Yerevan to end the occupation using this. Tehran threatens Baku today, forgets that Iranian-Azerbaijani regional cooperation is extremely attractive from the Iranian-Armenian cooperation. Sacrificing a regional power like Azerbaijan to a dwarf country like Armenia does not meet pragmatic interests either. Tehran is convicted to expand relations with Azerbaijan for the sake of its interests.

Tehran for years sees that Azerbaijan always acts as a friend with its friends, and does not get disloyal to it with anyone’s threat. During these years, Azerbaijan did not make any changes in the relations with Israel towards the negative, on the contrary, bilateral relations have further tightened, Azerbaijan became a leading country in the energy supply of Israel, as well as, Azerbaijan is one of the largest buyers of Israeli weapons. 44 days of war has also proven that no one can speak with Baku in the language of blackmail. In terms of this, as much as not late, Iran must return to normal neighborly relations.

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