The Armenian Ministry of Defense informed a few days ago that the meeting of the head of defense policy Levon Aivazyan met with the military attache of the Iranian Islamic Republic Mahdi Vejdani at the ministry. Aside from issues relating to bilateral relations on defense, the upcoming activities, they dwelled on the statement by the Chief of Staff of the Iranian army Mohammad Baghiri in Baku, as reported by the Azerbaijani press.
According to the Azerbaijani press, Baghiri stated that the territories of Artsakh are Azerbaijani territories. This information was also reported by the Russian-language news of IRNA, the Iranian national news agency, with a reference to the Azerbaijani press and was removed after some time.
According to the statement of the Ministry of Defense, during the meeting with the head of the Department of Defense Policy the Iranian military attache in Armenia “reaffirmed” Iran’s balanced position on the Artsakh issue that has been expressed multiple times, highlighted that it has not changed, and information in press and multiple comments on it distort it. Underlining the high-level political relations between the two countries, the sides expressed confidence that there will be mutual high-level visits and there will be innumerable occasions to express official positions on different issues.
The traditional Azerbaijani distortions of the Iranian general’s statements overlapped with a careless statement by one of the members of parliament of the My Step majority in the Armenian parliament, triggering certain “distortions” in Armenia. Different circles of the former ruling system used this for an information offensive on the new government, presented the statement ascribed to the Iranian general as an answer to the mistake by the Armenian member of parliament.
It is beyond doubt that what happened was a mistake, quite careless and untimely, and such mistakes must be practically ruled out. At the same time, it will be an unserious approach, first of all towards Iran, to say that after this statement the chief of staff of the Iranian army answered.
First of all, it would be unserious in the sense that Iran with its centuries-old state, political, geopolitical traditions, style and philosophy is able to distinguish worrying tendencies from mistakes. Hence, Tehran is a quite serious actor to answer such mistakes with such statements which may, in deep, contradict to Iran’s strategic interests.
Hence only with an unserious opinion about Iran would it be possible to conclude that someone’s slip of the tongue in Armenia would instantly get answered with a statement by the chief of staff of Iran’s army in Baku. Moreover, later it became known that the statement had been ascribed to him.
At the same time, this ascription was in some sense assistance to Armenia and Iran to discuss the situation together and eliminate at least theoretical risks of misunderstanding and lack of understanding.
In this sense, official Yerevan was adequate and fast, organizing a meeting at the Ministry of Defense with the military attache to prevent continuation of both internal and external manipulative developments.
At the same time, there is an important acknowledgement of high-level political relations between the two countries and an announcement about upcoming mutual high-level visits which will be an occasion to express official positions on different issues.
In a deeper sense these must be an occasion to refresh the Armenian-Iranian agenda.