The Caucasus and Iran

Authored by: Kelsey Rice

Routledge Handbook of the Caucasus

Print publication date:  March  2020
Online publication date:  March  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138483187
eBook ISBN: 9781351055628
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter investigates Iran’s complex relationship with its South Caucasus neighbours, the Republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. In particular it deconstructs the roots of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s traditionally much warmer relations with Christian Armenia than fellow majority-Shi‘ite nation Azerbaijan. These intricate contemporary relations are rooted in a shared history and culture, defined by firm borders only with the evolution of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia as independent states and then Soviet republics in the early twentieth century. Arguing that we must first understand the region through its shared cultural geography, this chapter disentangles why Iran is viewed by Armenia as an essential ally, Georgia as a necessary one, and Azerbaijan as a potential threat, and how it shapes its policy in response.

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