Iran has opened an embassy in Kapan, located in the southern Armenian province of Siuni. The country’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdullahian officially inaugurated the consulate on Friday.

Al-Jazeera reports that Iran is sending a direct message to Azerbaijan and its backer Turkey by opening the embassy. Baku and Ankara wanted Iran to become the first country to establish a diplomatic mission in the province.

Analysts believe that this move comes in support of Tehran’s claim. Because any change in its border and transit link with Armenia would be a ‘red line’ that would be retaliated against.

Iran also shares a border with Azerbaijan. Its ally Turkey wants to build a new transport link to connect the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan with the Azerbaijani mainland. This route is known as ‘Jangejur Corridor’.

If the route is established, bypassing the actual Armenian checkpoints, it would open a new dichotomy of Iran-Armenia trade and could cut off a major transit link between Iran and the South Caucasus.

Yerevan said the corridor signals a violation of a ceasefire signed after the Nagorno-Karabakh war in 2020. The war was won by Azerbaijan and took back territories that had been under Armenian control since a previous conflict in the early 1990s.

At the opening ceremony, Iran’s new consul-general in Kapan, Morteza Abedin Varamin, said, ‘I would advise the people of Kapan not to worry, we are here for the Armenian people.’

“Iran considers Armenia’s security as its own and the region’s security,” said Iran’s Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian as he prepared to host an Armenian Consulate General in northwestern Tabriz. Many ethnic Iranian Turks live in northwestern Tabriz.

Iran’s top diplomat, who led a high-level delegation to Armenia, met Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Yerevan on Saturday. He also held talks with his counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan and Armenia’s National Assembly President Alain Simonyan.

(22 October)