Iran says any violation of its territory by Nagorno-Karabakh conflicting sides ‘intolerable’

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman has given a stern warning to the sides involved in military clashes over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region against violating the Islamic Republic’s territory.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has been monitoring the movements along our country’s border areas with seriousness and great sensitivity,” Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters on Saturday when asked about the reports of violation of Iran’s territory during the ongoing clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

He emphasized that any violation of the Iranian soil by any warring side in the region would not be tolerated and added, “We seriously warn all sides to take the necessary precautions in this regard.”

The Iranian spokesperson once again stressed the importance of respecting Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, observing the principle of protecting civilians, ending the clashes and opening serious and scheduled negotiations.

Khatibzadeh also expressed the Islamic Republic’s readiness to help achieve these objectives.

His comments came after officials in the northwestern Iranian province of East Azarbaijan reported that mortar shells fired by the warring sides in the latest round of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan had hit border rural areas in Iran.

According to reports, one of the mortar shells that hit a village in Khoda-Afarin County had injured a six-year-old child and caused horror among people.

Scores of deaths have been reported in the fighting over the past days, with Yerevan and Baku continuing to trade accusations for the war.

The disputed region of Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but has an Armenian population and administration. The two countries have been locked in the territorial dispute since the 1990s, when Karabakh declared independence after a war that claimed 30,000 lives.

The new round of fighting is the heaviest since a 1994 ceasefire, which nevertheless failed to put an ultimate end to the conflict. Since the violence broke out, both sides have imposed martial law and announced mobilizations of armed forces.

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said on Wednesday that his country will keep fighting until Armenian forces “fully” withdraw from the disputed region.

“We only have one condition: Armenian armed forces must unconditionally, fully, and immediately leave our lands,” Aliyev said, adding that if “the Armenian government fulfills the demand, fighting and bloodshed will end, and peace will be established in the region.”

During a telephone conversation with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to show restraint and reject any foreign interference over the Karabakh dispute.

Rouhani voiced concern about the ongoing fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory and underlined the need for regional peace, stability and security.

“Our region cannot endure further instability and a new war,” he said.


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