Iran invites Azerbaijan, Armenia to exercise restraint

July 15, 2020 - 17:26

TEHRAN — Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has voiced Tehran’s readiness to help soothe the tensions between two of its northern neighbors, namely Azerbaijan and Armenia, which have been caught in a deadly clash.

In phone conversations with Azeri Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan late on Tuesday, 

Zarif advised both sides to exercise restraint and initiate talks aimed at resolving rifts peacefully.

Zarif proposed that Iran is ready to help bring an end to tensions between the two former Soviet republics.

The clashes broke out on the volatile Armenia-Azerbaijan border on Sunday and have continued over the past days.

At least 16 people, including four Armenian troops, 11 Azeri servicemen and one Azeri civilian, have been killed in the worst outbreak of hostilities between the two neighbors in recent years.

Officials in both countries have blamed each other for initiating the fighting.

For years, the two neighbors have been locked in a conflict over Azerbaijan’s breakaway, mainly ethnic Armenian region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Though a ceasefire was agreed in 1994, Baku and Yerevan continue to accuse each other of shooting attacks around Nagorno-Karabakh.

The latest flare-up, however, occurred far from Nagorno-Karabakh and directly between the two states.

In a tweet on Tuesday, the Iranian president’s chief of staff called for calm and voiced Tehran’s readiness to play as a mediator.

Mahmoud Vaezi wrote that the skirmishes “threaten both countries’ interests as well as regional stability and calm and is cause for worry.”

He said the sole way out of the crisis is a political settlement of the disputes while taking into account the interests and territorial integrity of both states.

“With a past record of mediation b/w the two countries and given its neighborly relations, I.R. Iran will spare no effort to help,” he added.

MH/PA

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