TEHRAN (Iran News) – Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said his government welcomes any Iranian initiative to help end the heaviest fighting in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh since the 1990s.
In an exclusive interview with Iran Daily, Pashinyan said Iran, as an important country in the region, can play a key role in stopping the conflict between Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan.
“This role can now be concentrated on ending military operations,” said Pashinyan, adding that Armenia “welcomes any constructive step by Iran to bring peace and tranquility to the region”.
Nagorno-Karabakh is a breakaway region of Azerbaijan mainly inhabited by ethnic Armenians and backed by Armenia. The fighting over the disputed region has left hundreds dead since clashes erupted on September 27.
Since then, dozens of rockets have landed in villages along the Iranian border wounding a number of people and destroying buildings.
Pashinyan expressed regret over stray fire, saying it was not from Armenia.
“I can give assurances that the Armenian side is doing its utmost so that no harm is inflicted on its friendly country Iran.”
The Armenian prime minister also accused Turkey of “transferring terrorist mercenaries” from Syria to Nagorno-Karabakh to fight for Azerbaijan. “This has been internationally proven,” he said.
The premier said there are “many documents” that indicate militants from Syria are fighting for Azerbaijan.
He warned that the presence of such militants poses a “grave threat to the region” and that its consequences will emerge in the future.
Pashinyan called on regional states “to deal with this issue more seriously”.
Ankara has openly voiced support for Baku in the conflict and demanded that the region be returned to Azerbaijan.
Ethnic Armenian separatists seized the Nagorno-Karabakh region from Azerbaijan in a 1990s war that claimed 30,000 lives. The region’s declaration of independence has not been recognized by any country, even Armenia, and it is still part of Azerbaijan under international law.
Pashinyan said Azerbaijan and Turkey held a joint military drill one and a half months before the start of the conflict.
“After the end of the exercise, part of Turkish military forces remained in Azerbaijan,” he said, arguing that the current war has long been planned.
The Armenian leader said that his country is engaged in a “full-fledged war that threatens the entire region”.
Answering a question about the failure of a Russian-brokered truce agreement, he accused Turkey of “trying to constantly to prevent a cease-fire”.
“Turkey has extensive goals… Turkey seeks to secure its presence in the South Caucasus region to revive an empire through which Turkey wants to expand its influence to the east, north, south and southeast of Nagorno-Karabakh,” Pashinyan pointed out.
He warned that such a policy will have a direct impact on all countries.
Pashinyan said Armenia will not accept any “foreign interference or mediation” in the conflict except from the Minsk Group which is comprised of France, Russia and the United States
He took a swipe at the Minsk Group for their inability “to affect developments” in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
“Although they issue statements and adopt stances, they do not have the power to affect developments,” he said.
The premier said Azerbaijan is “extensively using Israeli drones” in its military operations in Nagorno-Karabakh which “proves that foreign powers intervention” in the region through various ways.
- source : Iran Daily