Iran offers mediation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Armenia declared a state of war after fighting with Azerbaijan. Iran now wants to act as a mediator between the two neighboring countries.

Iran has offered to act as a mediator in the conflict between the two neighboring states Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. The Iranian Foreign Office spokesman Said Chatibsadeh said on Sunday, according to the Isna news agency. Tehran is following the fighting in the South Caucasus with great concern.

“We call on both sides to exercise restraint, to end the conflict immediately and to resume negotiations,” he added. Tehran maintains good diplomatic relations with both countries and has mediated in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the past.

After fighting with neighboring Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict region, Armenia declared a state of war. The Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced on Sunday in Yerevan. Azerbaijan had previously announced a military operation against Nagorno-Karabakh. There are said to be numerous injuries and around ten deaths among the soldiers in the South Caucasus region. It is the worst escalation in years.

According to information from both sides, heavy fighting broke out on Sunday morning between the warring neighboring countries. The capital Stepanakert had been shelled, the people should get to safety, said the authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh. Numerous houses in villages have been destroyed. According to reports from Baku and Yerevan, the fighting continued.

Reciprocal blame

Both sides blamed each other for the fighting. The shelling began early in the morning from the Azerbaijani side, wrote Pashinyan on . “The entire responsibility for this lies with the Azerbaijani military-political leadership,” said the spokeswoman for the Defense Ministry of Armenia. Yerevan shot down helicopters and combat drones. Three enemy tanks were hit. Baku denied this and stressed that the fighting was a counter-offensive on the front line. Armenia provoked the fighting.

The Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is controlled by Armenia, is part of the Islamic region of Azerbaijan under international law. Baku lost control of the area inhabited by Christian Karabakh Armenians in a war following the collapse of the Soviet Union. A ceasefire has existed in the region since 1994, but it has been repeatedly broken. The conflict last flared up sharply in 2016. More than 120 people died.

In July there was heavy fighting on the border between the warring republics; however, the fighting was hundreds of kilometers north of Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia relies on Russia as a protective power, which has stationed thousands of soldiers and weapons there.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called on both sides to stop the fire immediately. Baku and Yerevan should also start talks to stabilize the situation. Neighboring Turkey accused Armenia of violating international law. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara said it strongly condemned the “Armenian attack”. Turkey is on Azerbaijan’s side.

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