‘Nagorno-Karabakh clashes to persist as long as Azeri cities remain occupied’

October 13, 2020 - 17:7

TEHRAN — Former Iranian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mohsen Pak-A’een has said the Azerbaijan-Armenia clashes will continue as long as Azerbaijan’s seven cities remain occupied. 

“So long as Baku hasn’t liberated its seven cities, it sees itself entitled to their liberation and that’s why the Karabakh clashes will continue,” Pak-A’een said, IRNA reported on Tuesday.

“In order to reach a truce that leads to permanent peace, we should see what measures should take place so that both countries, I mean the Republic of Azerbaijan and Armenia, feel satisfaction and think they have won,” the former diplomat commented.

The breakaway of Nagorno-Karabakh has long been a source of conflict between Baku and Yerevan since the early years of the 1990s when the two sides fought a years-long war over the disputed region that led to the Armenian forces declaring independence from Azerbaijan and also occupying parts of Azerbaijan’s territories surrounding the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh.

The two sides agreed to a ceasefire starting on Saturday to exchange prisoners and bodies of those killed in the conflict. However, each side has since accused the other of breaking the agreement. Armenia and Azerbaijan also accused each other of bombarding civilian areas ahead of the ceasefire.

The talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia were held in Moscow and were the first diplomatic contact between them since September 27.

Hundreds of people have died and thousands been displaced since the latest violence broke out.

Pak-A’een emphasized that the ceasefires will not lead to permanent peace. “In fact, the ceasefires are reached in order to buy time, compensate for the damage, and prepare for another round of wars and clashes.”

“The mediators do not address the main issue, namely the occupation of the territories,” he said, adding that the same thing happened during Iraq’s imposed war on Iran, when the mediators called for ceasefire while Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had Iran’s territories under his army’s occupation.

“Ceasefire was meaningless as long as the occupation of the territories continued,” he remarked.

In a Twitter thread on Monday, Iranian presidential chief of staff Mahmoud Vaezi called for an end to the clashes between the two neighboring countries.

Vaezi lauded Russia’s efforts to mediate between Baku and Yerevan, saying Iran welcomes the ceasefire and an end to the war over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

“We hope the peace talks would begin as soon as possible and the results of the talks would conform with the internationally-recognized rights of the two countries, so that it would not lead to another war,” he added.

He further said that the region has the necessary capacities for the settlement of problems and guaranteeing peace and security.

“Moscow’s talks with the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia are a good sign of the potential of the independent regional powers, and Iran is fully prepared for cooperation and assistance in the process of peace and stability in accordance with international law,” stated Vaezi, who was Iran’s second-ranking diplomat when Ali Akbar Velayati was foreign minister.

MH/PA

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