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Iran, Azerbaijan warm up ties after years of frost

While Iran and Azerbaijan have had relatively chilly relations in past decades, the two neighbors finally appear to be on the path to closer ties.
Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov (R) meets with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Baku on December 20, 2017.
Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey hold the fifth trilateral meeting in Baku. / AFP PHOTO / Tofik BABAYEV        (Photo credit should read TOFIK BABAYEV/AFP/Getty Images)

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 was followed by the independence of several states in the Caucasus, including the Republic of Azerbaijan. While the newfound Azerbaijani state has not enjoyed warm ties with Iran, this trend appears to be changing as the two countries move closer to one another.

The absence of close ties between Tehran and Baku is believed to be rooted in several factors, the most important being Azerbaijan’s preference for closer relations with Turkey rather than with Iran. In turn, the Islamic Republic has opted for warmer ties with Christian Armenia rather than with Shiite Azerbaijan.

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