2010-02-16 18:02:00

Interview of a military expert Sergey Sarkisyan with ArmInfo News

How much does the threat of international sanctions with respect to
Iran affect its positions and role in our region?

"Of course, the sanctions with respect to Iran are the constraining
factor for some countries of the region for development of political
and economic relations with it. However, these measures are not able
to essentially reduce the role of Tehran in the South Caucasus. Low
efficiency of sanctions by the West has been mainly caused by special
stances of Russia and China, and lately, by the more independent
foreign policy of Ankara and its aspiration to establish close economic
relations with Tehran, carrying out energy projects with it, first
of all.

What policy should Armenia conduct against the background of the
tension available between Iran and the West?

International sanctions with respect to Iran primarily touch on the
spheres which are either absent in the relations between Yerevan
and Tehran or are present insignificantly: in particular, these
big investments in the economy of Iran and the military-technical

Along with it, Armenia's policy with respect to Iran must be aimed
at development of mutually beneficial cooperation. In parallel with
development of cooperation with Tehran, Armenia should clarify its
stance regarding bilateral relations with Iran, taking into account
the developed realities along the perimeter of Armenia's borders -
the ongoing conflict in Artsakh and still closed border with Turkey.

Moreover, the efforts by Armenia should be directed to prevention
of escalation of tension around Iran before its growth into an armed
conflict, as well as explanation to the world community of the scales
of possible catastrophic consequences of the military operation
against Iran for the Black Sea-Caspian and Middle-East regions.

What connection may be traced in the last meetings of Robert Kocharyan
with the Iranian authorities and the visit of Iran's foreign minister
to Armenia?

I think there is no special connection between these two visits -
they fit well into the general context of negotiations between the
two neighbouring states.

Moreover, it is not strange that ex-President of Armenia Robert
Kocharyan assumed a certain role in the foreign political activity in
a quite tense period of the increased attention by the power centers
of regional and global scales to the our region.

May the internal political instability in Iran make the authorities
revise their policy with respect to the West, in particular, refuse
from the nuclear programme?

The internal political instability in Iran has been currently caused
by a quite painful process of the power elite change, redistribution
of the weight and influence of groupings and their constituents. In
particular, it is related to withdrawal of some politicians and
religious figures, who took an active part in the Islamic revolution of
1979, from the political arena. The protest actions by the opposition
constitute no real threat to the existing power system, at least,
for now.

Nuclear program is of strategic importance for Iran and aims to
strengthen its image of the leader in the Islam world, first of all.

Tehran does not strive to have nuclear weapons. It is much
more important for Iran to achieve the research and practice and
technological level enough for independent launching of full nuclear
cycle and ensure its needs on atomic energy.

The level of motivation and the real need of Tehran in creation
or acquiring of nuclear weapons directly depends on its ability to
provide its security by political methods relying on modern but not
nuclear weapons.

Do you think that the joint using of the Gabala radar station by Russia
and USA is possible, and how will it affect the balance of forces in
the region in the context of the American-Iranian confrontation?

It should be noted that the so-called Gabala radar station is an
Information-Analytical Center Darial. It is not able to replace
the missile defense system, which the USA intended to launch in the
territory of Poland and Czech Republic not long ago. Now they consider
a possibility of its placement in Romania and in the Black Sea water
area. Gabala radar station has no option of countermissile guidance,
namely, it is the principal element of the US anti-ballistic missile
defense. Functionally, it is able to assure just tracing of Iran's
"missile activity" and become only part of information-analytical
support of the missile defense system.

The prospects of technical and prompt cooperation of the American
and Russian missile defense system's radar control systems seem
quite problematic.

Moreover, using of the Gabala radar station not instead but in
addition to the American missile defense system, being launched,
bears military and political problems: in due time, Iran understood
such initiative by Russia just in the context of using the current
radar station as an alternative to the newly launched systems.

In general, joint using of the Gabala radar station by Russia and
the USA will not essentially affect the military balance of forces
in the region, however, it will become another project to tighten
the Azerbaijani-Russian and Azerbaijani-American military-political

The Azerbaijani leadership continuously makes roaring statements about
the readiness to "return the territories". How much substantiated is
such a rhetoric from the viewpoint of combat readiness of its army?

Such rhetoric aims to bolster fighting efficiency of the Azerbaijani
army, especially moral and psychological training of the manpower.

Along with it, the Azerbaijani leadership has occurred in a vicious
cycle because of its precipitate policy of militarist rhetoric which
must keep on growing "by the rules of the genre. There is a strong
possibility that such revanchist military psychosis in Azerbaijan
may get out of control of the authorities. This factor may lead
to resumption of military actions in Nagorny Karabakh despite the
prospects of destabilization of the domestic political situation
in the country and direct threat to the ruling elite which was the
initiator of this psychos.

Interview by Ashot Safaryan, February 11, 2010. ArmInfo