Iran’s growing influence in the South Caucasus adds to already complex tensions

A Russian-made tank, turned into a monument to commemorate a 1992 battle during the Nagorno-Karabakh war (photo: dpa)
A Russian-made tank, turned into a monument to commemorate a 1992 battle during the Nagorno-Karabakh war (photo: dpa)

The South Caucasus, consisting of Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, sits at a crucial geographical and cultural crossroads. The area has proven to be strategically important, both militarily and economically, for centuries, and Iran’s return to the world stage after decades of isolation looks set to put the region back on the front pages.

It’s a rough neighbourhood, plagued with insecurity: There are 25,000 square km of land under outside occupation in some way or another. Key pipelines transit the region. The ceasefire between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the latter’s occupation of the Nagorno–Karabakh region is showing signs of strain. In addition to Iran’s newfound assertiveness, R...

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