Iran has reassured Azerbaijan that it recognises its territorial integrity at the same time as it reiterated calls for dialogue to resolve the deadly conflict with Armenia over the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region. Iran also categorically denied allegations that weapons have been transferred to Armenia from Iranian territory.
Iran has reason to be deeply concerned by the latest outbreak in hostilities as it shares borders with both Armenia and Azerbaijan. Shortly after the latest clashes erupted, Iran called on the two sides to exercise restraint and work towards dialogue.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held separate phone calls with his counterparts in Armenia and Azerbaijan on Sunday, during which he urged them to hold talks within the framework of international law.
During a phone conversation between senior government officials from Iran and Azerbaijan on Wednesday, Iran emphasized that it respects Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and denied accusations of weapons going to Armenia from Iranian territory as an attempt to damage relations between the two countries.
“The stance of the Islamic Republic on Azerbaijan has always been clear and transparent as it has always recognised the neighbouring country’s territorial integrity and respected it,” Mahmoud Vaezi, President Hassan Rouhani’s chief of staff, told Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister Shahin Mustafayev in a phone call on Wednesday.
Vaezi emphasized that Azerbaijan holds an important place in Iranian foreign policy and said Tehran will always strive to develop and boost bilateral ties with its neighbour.
He also expressed Iran’s deep concern regarding the armed conflict, saying Iran was ready to mediate between Azerbaijan and Armenia to begin negotiations “within the framework of international laws”.
During his conversation with the Azeri deputy prime minister, Vaezi also denied reports that Tehran was sending arms and military equipment to Armenia.
On Tuesday, several videos circulated on social media showing trucks carrying covered loads through the Iranian border with Armenia, prompting claims military equipment was being exported for use in Nagorno-Karabakh.
“These are completely baseless rumours spread to tarnish good relations between Iran and Azerbaijan,” he said.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh immediately denied the reports, saying, “The Islamic Republic will by no means allow our soil to be used to move arms and ammunition”.
He said the trucks had been carrying “conventional, non-military goods.”
Iranian state television on Wednesday broadcast from the Nordooz border terminal, where the trucks carrying the suspect loads were in a depot.
The vehicles were Russian Kamaz trucks, which a local official said had been purchased by Armenia before the armed conflict and were being transported through Iran. They were shown to be carrying vehicle parts.
Some other media reports alleged that Russia had sent three of its MiG-29 fighters to Armenia using Iranian airspace, which were again categorically rejected by Iranian officials as false.
“The movement of trucks and the transit of conventional civilian goods between the Islamic Republic of Iran and neighbouring countries have been ongoing as usual,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said.
However, he added, “in addition to closely monitoring and controlling the movements and transit of goods to other countries, Iran does not allow the use of its soil for the transfer of weapons and ammunition.” LINK
Also on Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashynian, calling on Armenia to work toward ending the conflict and begin dialogue.
“Our region can no longer take instability and new wars,” Rouhani said.
“Our wish is to immediately stop the clashes and for us all to resolve the region’s issues through political discourse and international laws.”
Pashynian reportedly agreed that armed conflict is to the detriment of the region and expressed concern about foreign interference in Armenian disagreements with Azerbaijan.
PM @NikolPashinyan had a phone conversation with President of Iran @HassanRouhani. The Iranian president expressed concern over the ongoing tensions and hostilities between #Armenia and #Azerbaijan.
PM drew attention to the fact of Turkey's direct involvement in hostilities. pic.twitter.com/dKDicZMMws
— Government of Armenia (@armgov) September 30, 2020
Rouhani also noted Iran’s long-lasting ties with the two Caucasian republics, founded on common history and culture, and voiced Tehran’s readiness to mediate between the two sides in whatever capacity deemed constructive by Armenia and Azerbaijan to help settle the dispute. LINK
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