Tehran losing sleep over situation on Iran-Azerbaijan border

Israel's Mossad is increasingly active on the Iran-Azerbaijan border - a fact which is causing growing concern in Tehran.

Tags: Iran
Dean Elmas Shmuel ,

Sunset in Iran
Sunset in Iran

The landscape surrounding the Iran-Azerbaijan border is incredibly beautiful. These pristine, green hills, however, conceal widespread intelligence-gathering activity by the Mossad, according to foreign reports.

On Tuesday, I toured the border at two points: the first at Fuzuli and the second at Zangilan. Both these areas were liberated in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War, in which Azerbaijan expanded its border with Iran from 500 kilometers (310 miles) to 600 kilometers (373 miles). And if up until that war the ayatollah regime in Tehran struggled to monitor the gigantic, fenceless border with its neighbor, now this border is even longer.

On the diplomatic level, while Iran has an ambassador in Baku and Azerbaijan has an ambassador in Tehran, the ayatollah regime views the expansive border with Azerbaijan as a big security problem. Tehran fears a nationalist uprising by the nearly 30 million Azeris who are Iranian citizens, particularly as the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration have had an adverse effect on the local population.

Azeri Iranians live mainly in two provinces bordering Azerbaijan: West Azerbaijan and East Azerbaijan. These names, of course, are not coincidental. These provinces border southern Azerbaijan, and on a daily basis, Azeri radio stations play songs of yearning for a people divided by two countries.

On the Iranian side of the border, meanwhile, we saw last week why the regime in Tehran views the Azeri provinces in the northwest as a security threat, after a commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Osman Hosseini, was assassinated in Piranshahr in West Azerbaijan by armed assailants.

At the same time, Iran views a strong Azerbaijan as a major threat – because of Baku's own military might and its robust collaboration with Israel. The confluence of all these variables means tensions are exceedingly high along the Aras River, a natural border separating the two countries.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom