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Iran Hails Karabakh Ceasefire Agreement


ARMENIA -- Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrive for a meeting on the sidelines of a session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council In Yerevan, Armenia October 1, 2019.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani praised Russia for brokering an Armenian-Azerbaijani ceasefire agreement and reiterated his calls for a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh when he spoke with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Saturday.

The Kremlin said Putin informed Rouhani “in detail” about Moscow’s mediation efforts that resulted in the agreement reached overnight by the Armenian, Azerbaijani and Russian foreign ministers.

“The President praised Russia's efforts to establish a ceasefire and the start of talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and stressed the importance of the implementation of ceasefire,” read a statement on the phone call released by Rouhani’s office. It said he expressed Iran’s “readiness to provide any assistance and cooperation in this regard.”

Echoing his and other Iranian officials’ earlier statements, Rouhani was also reported to stress that “war is not a solution to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”

Tehran has repeatedly called for an end to large-scale hostilities around Karabakh which broke out on September 27. Rouhani said on Wednesday that they could escalate into a “regional war.” He also warned that the Islamic Republic will not tolerate foreign fighters near its northern border close to the Karabakh “line of contact.”

According to the Iranian presidential office, both Rouhani and Putin expressed serious concern over “the presence of some terrorist groups” there and “the interference of third-party countries” in the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute.

“The possible intervention of some third-party countries in this conflict will expand and prolong the crisis and we do not consider that to be in the interest of regional countries,” the Iranian president was quoted as telling Putin.

The Russian and Iranian foreign ministers discussed the issue in a phone call earlier this week. The Russian Foreign Ministry said they both were concerned about the reported participation of Syrian mercenaries in the Karabakh war.

The Russian foreign intelligence chief, Sergei Naryshkin, said on Tuesday that the region could become “a new launch pad for international terrorist organizations” from where militants could enter states including Russia.

Armenia as well as France have openly accused Turkey of recruiting Turkish-backed rebel fighters in Syria and sending them to fight in Karabakh on Azerbaijan’s side. Both Ankara and Baku deny that.

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