In a telephone conversation with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, which took place the evening before, September 30, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stressed the need to maintain peace, security and stability in the region.
The head of the Iranian government [the posts of president and prime minister in the Islamic Republic are combined. – Ed.] Also indicated that any external interference in the Karabakh conflict will aggravate it, reports the Mehr news agency.
Rouhani stressed the need to find a solution that would put an end to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan within the framework of international law and the territorial integrity of both countries. Pointing out that war is certainly not a solution to problems and disputes, the Iranian President said:
“It is important for us to stop this [armed] conflict, and we expect that the two countries, Armenia and Azerbaijan, will show tact and restraint in this matter.”
Earlier, representatives of official Tehran said that Iran would not allow the deployment of terrorists near its northern border. Thus, in the opinion of observers, the Iranian side reacted to reports coming from the region of the armed conflict about the transfer of Syrian mercenaries by Turkey to Azerbaijan for their participation in the hostilities in Karabakh.
Iran is the only state that has a direct border with all three sides of the Karabakh conflict – Azerbaijan, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
Just a few days ago, we announced that Turkey had begun transferring armed mercenaries and groups from Syria and Libya to Nagorno-Karabakh, whose main goal was to support Azerbaijan and Turkish policy in hostilities against Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. This information was officially announced and disseminated by the Russian Foreign Ministry, which expressed its concern about these processes.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, all this leads not only to resolving the ceasefire conflict, but to further escalation, fueled by Erdogan’s ambitions, which is a threat to both warring parties and all countries in the region. A statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry also said that measures should be taken to stop the use of foreign terrorists.
Earlier, Armenian officials accused Turkey of transferring hundreds of mercenary fighters from Syria to Azerbaijan to participate in hostilities in the Karabakh conflict zone. More impressive figures were also given for the “transit” of militants. Thus, the Armenian Ambassador to Russia Vardan Toganyan pointed to about 4 thousand “soldiers of fortune” who arrived in the Transcaucasian republic from the Syrian front. Ankara and Baku deny, respectively, the transfer and presence of militants in Azerbaijan.
The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh escalated on September 27, active clashes are taking place in the disputed territory. Martial law was introduced in Azerbaijan and Armenia, and mobilization was announced. Both sides reported killed and wounded, including civilians. In Baku, they announced the control of several Karabakh villages and strategic heights. Yerevan also reports about the shelling of the territory of Armenia.
Azerbaijan and Armenia have been in conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh since February 1988, when the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan SSR.
During the armed conflict in 1992-1994, the Azerbaijani side lost control of Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven areas adjacent to it. Since 1992, negotiations have been conducted within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group on a peaceful settlement of the conflict. The group is led by co-chairs – Russia, USA and France.
In 1994, Azerbaijan, Armenia and the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, through the mediation of Russia, signed the Bishkek Armistice Protocol. At the same time, military operations did not stop there, which periodically renewed.
The most significant exacerbation of the conflict was the four-day war of 2016. Then hundreds of soldiers on both sides became victims.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, during a meeting with the President of Azerbaijan last year, called for a rhetoric that would go against the fundamental principles endorsed by both sides and enshrined in the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act when resolving the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh.
At the same time, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry admitted that much more needs to be done to achieve a long-term political settlement.