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ARMENIAN COMMUNITY AND DIASPORA FACTOR IN IRAN-ARMENIA RELATIONS

Elnur Kelbizadeh

The factor of the Armenian Diaspora has played an important role in the implementation of the foreign policy of Armenia, which declared its independence in 1991, and in the establishment of economic and humanitarian relations with a number of countries. In the period before the collapse of the USSR, the Spryuk (diaspora), which tried to influence the political process in this country in various forms, mainly covertly, since 1991 has gained more influence in the country's politics. Although sometimes there were disagreements between the ‘Spryuk’ and the political regimes in Armenia on certain issues, in the end the two forces were able to unite for the same goals in matters related to the ‘all-Armenian affair’. Armenia has actively used the diaspora in the implementation of foreign policy issues, propaganda on the so-called "genocide issue", distortion of the truth to cover up the occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia.

The Armenian community and the diaspora have also played an important role in establishing and developing relations with Armenia's southern neighbor, the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), one of the key regional geopolitical players. Although the Armenian side tries to present the Armenian ‘community’ in Iran more as a ‘diaspora’ in accordance with its political goals, but the historical and settlement features allow to characterize this community as a diaspora.

The study of the influence of the Armenian community and diaspora in Iran on the establishment of relations between the IRI and Armenia in the post-1991 period determines the urgency of the topic. It allows to clarify in what directions the Armenian state uses the opportunities of the community and the diaspora.

The methodological principles of the theory of political realism are preferred for the study of the subject. At the time of writing, sociological and cultural methods were preferred over general research methods, and mainly explanatory methods were applied over applied research methods.

The article clarifies the purpose of presenting the Armenian community in Iran as a diaspora, not a community, and assesses the role of Armenians in the political life of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the context of relations between the two countries.

Keywords: diaspora (spryuk), community, Iran, Armenia, international relations, national policy.

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