US Deputy Special Envoy for Iran Abram Paley during an interview with Iran international in January 2024

US Deputy Iran Envoy Tours South Caucasus

Tuesday, 04/02/2024

The US Deputy Iran Envoy discussed issues concerning Iran, including US sanctions and what he termed as Iran's "destabilizing behavior" on a tour of the south Caucasus.

Abram Paley commenced his journey in Armenia where talks focused on border security, sanctions enforcement, human rights, and US concerns about Iran's military support to Russia.

“Productive meetings in Tbilisi with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, the National Bank of Georgia, and the private sector on Iran, human rights, and the importance of continued sanctions enforcement,” Paley wrote in a post of X of his trip to Georgia.

The tour concluded with a final stop in Baku, Azerbaijan, where the focus remained on Iran's aggression. Just last year, an Iran-backed plot was foiled to attack Israel's embassy in Baku.

Hours before Paley's visit, Azerbaijani law enforcement and border guard agencies announced significant seizures of smuggled drugs from Iran, with operations ongoing since the beginning of the Iranian New Year. Several individuals, including an Iranian citizen, have been detained in connection with the operations.

Relations between Iran and Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan are complex and influenced by various factors including historical, cultural, and geopolitical dynamics. Iran enjoys relatively stable relations with Armenia, with economic cooperation and cultural ties being prominent features. Similarly, with Georgia, Iran maintains cordial relations, focusing on economic cooperation, energy transit, and cultural exchanges.

However, Iran's relations with Azerbaijan have been strained due to issues such as border disputes, security concerns, and differing geopolitical alignments. Since Azerbaijan opened its embassy in Tel Aviv last year, tensions have risen. Border closures and occasional tensions have occurred between Iran and Azerbaijan, particularly concerning the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Azerbaijan's relations with Iran's regional rivals.

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