Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan phoned his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts on Sunday to add Tehran’s voice to international concerns over the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh and call for an “immediate end” to hostilities there.
According to Iranian news agencies, Dehqan said that the two sides must “exercise restraint” and seek only a peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict. No other details were reported.
The press offices of Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian and his Azerbaijani counterpart Zakir Hasanov also gave few details of the separate phone calls.
A spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on the escalation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute, saying that it is a “source of deep concern” for the Islamic Republic. Hossein Jaberi Ansari said the conflicting parties should avoid violence especially now that the wider region is “witnessing destructive acts by extremist groups.”
“We urge Azerbaijan and Armenia to promptly cease clashes and use all their might to restore tranquility and a peaceful settlement of differences ... under the United Nations [auspices,]” added Ansari.
The Iranian official did not blame either side for the heavy fighting, reflecting Tehran’s cautious stance on the Karabakh conflict.
The fighting broke out on Saturday morning at several sections of the Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” around Karabakh, including an area bordering Iran. Hostilities involving tanks and heavy artillery reportedly continued there on Sunday.
Citing officials in Iran’s northwestern East Azarbaiajan province, the Fars news agency reported on Sunday that three mortar shells hit an Iranian village close to the “line of contact.” There was no word on casualties or material damage caused by them.
The provincial vice-governor said the Armenian and Azerbaijani militaries have assured Iranian border guards that they “will not repeat such a mistake.”