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Russian-Iranian competition heats up in South Caucasus 

For Moscow, contradictions with Tehran may turn out to be much more sensitive than disputes with Ankara.
Russian attack helicopters launch rockets during military exercises at the Kapustin Yar range in Astrakhan region, Southern Russia on Sept. 25, 2020 during the "Caucasus-2020" military drills gathering China, Iran, Pakistan and Myanmar troops, along with ex-Soviet Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus.
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During Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian’s visit to Moscow on Oct. 5, one of the main topics of the talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov was rising tensions in Iranian-Azerbaijani ties. At a press conference in the Russian capital, Iran’s top diplomat voiced a range of complaints against Baku, focusing on Azerbaijan's dealings with Israel. In turn, Lavrov made it clear that Russia is "against the buildup of military activity" in the South Caucasus and "against provocative exercises,” which should have been a signal to the Iranian side about the need to reduce the tension. 

Azerbaijan and Turkey carried out joint military exercises in early September in the Azerbaijani Lachin region, as tensions between Baku and Tehran escalate.

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