What should be expected from Putin-Aliyev-Rouhani meeting
On August 14, Sochi will host meeting between presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran. According to chairman of the expert council of the "Eurasian Ideas Workshop" support fund for scientific research, Grigory Trofimchuk, trilateral summits are becoming not only good tradition, but also usual occurrence.
"Such meetings have become security factor not only in the South Caucasus, but also in Central Asia, and in significant part of the Middle East. We must also bear economic security in mind. We're discussing multilateral projects that will allow to intensify cooperation in the Caspian Sea and the North-South Transport Corridor. Azerbaijan is not a member of the Eurasian Economic Union, but this doesn't prevent it from participating in other integrational projects. Significance of Russian-Azerbaijani cooperation in the East and in Asia as a whole is huge, because it helps to strengthen our cooperation in the Far East. Meetings are regularly held at the ministerial level. Recently, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Denis Manturov once again stated that volume of Russian-Azerbaijani trade is growing, and we're cooperating in new areas, including cars and car building," Trofimchuk said. He also spoke in favor of development of cooperation between regions of Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran: “We must promote inter-regional level of mutual trade turnover. It's constantly growing with Azerbaijan. So far it hasn't reached $600 million, but I think for countries with serious potential like Russia and Azerbaijan, $600 million is not much."
Stanislav Pritchin, researcher at the Center for the Central Asian Studies at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, called the Russia-Azerbaijan-Iran summit a narrower format in the framework of the global Caspian dialogue: "Over the past two years, two meetings weere held immediately after the Caspian five summits. This year, on August 12, Turkmenistan will host the first Caspian Economic Forum, at which heads of Caspian states are expected to be present. They will continue five-way dialogue on the status of the Caspian Sea. Trilateral dialogue of Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan allows us to focus on interests of the western coast of the Caspian Sea. Geopolitically, this format is extremely strong, although there are internal political risks in Iran. Western sanctions against Tehran could lead to radicalization of the domestic political agenda in Iran and the next president may be more conservative, more radical when it comes to the West compared to Hassan Rouhani. So there are certain risks."
Pritchin recalled that Rouhani was criticized by conservative circles in Iran for signing the Caspian Convention, he was even accused of betrayal. "However, this Convention deliberately excluded any rules regarding division of the Caspian Sea. It says that all issues regarding division and delimitation will be resolved at the bilateral and trilateral levels. Issue of the southern part of the Caspian Sea should be resolved within the framework of relations between Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Iran, just like this was done in the north by Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Russia before 2003," expert noted.