The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Policy Toward the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict
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Iran’s policy toward the conflict and the two protagonists, Azerbaijan and Armenia, is shaped by a number of factors that include Tehran’s desire to preempt ethnic mobilization of its domestic Azerbaijani minority, and Iran’s relations with Russia and the United States. In contrast to its widely held image as a state where Islamic solidarity plays an important role in its foreign policy, Iran has showed no preference toward Azerbaijan; rather, Tehran’s policy toward the conflict is very pragmatic, based primarily on how its developments affect Iran’s current security interests. The case of Iran’s policy toward Nagorno-Karabakh also contradicts that widely held premise that the Sunni–Shiite divide is an important fault line in the greater Middle East.