Iran calls for immediate ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is worryingly and closely watching the clashes between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia and, while urging restraint, it urges the two countries to immediately stop the clashes and start a dialogue,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
Saeed Khatibzadeh, the spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, also expressed Iran’s readiness to use everything in its power to help achieve a ceasefire between Azerbaijan and Armenia and facilitate talks between the two arch-foes.
On Sunday, violent clashes flared up between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the volatile Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but controlled by Armenian forces.
Accusing Azerbaijan of starting the clashes, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced the downing of two Azerbaijani helicopters and three drones as well as the destruction of three tanks in response to what he called “Azeri invasion”. Pashinyan accused Azerbaijan of declaring war on the Armenian people.
“Today, from early morning, Artsakh was subjected to the aggression of the armed forces of Azerbaijan. The civilian population of Artsakh, the capital Stepanakert, and civilian infrastructures are being bombed. At the moment, there are casualties and wounded, including among the civilian population. Using heavy weapons, the enemy is attacking the positions of the Defense Army in all directions,” the Armenian prime minister said in an address to his fellow citizens. “The totalitarian administration of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has switched to military operations. This is a war declared on the Armenian people. This is a war against our independence, freedom, and dignity. The Armenian people are ready for this war because they have always soberly realized that the hatred for Armenians, which Azerbaijani totalitarianism has been feeding its people for decades, could not lead to any other result than war.”
Pashinyan declared martial law and general mobilization as Azerbaijan announced that the Armenian forces were retreating from the battlefield while suffering big losses.
“At the decision of the Government, martial law and general mobilization are being declared in the Republic of Armenia. I call on the personnel attached to the troops to present themselves to their district commissariats,” he tweeted on Sunday, hours after the deadly clashes began, claiming that the clashes were “pre-planned” by neighboring Azerbaijan.
“Recent aggressive statements of Azerbaijani leadership, large-scale joint military exercises with Turkey, as well as the rejection of the Organization for Security and Co-operation PRCiO monitoring requests clearly indicate this aggression was pre-planned and constitutes large-scale provocation against regional peace and security,” tweeted the prime minister.
On the other hand, Azerbaijan has rejected Armenian accusations that it started aggression on Armenia, saying they are only “liberating” its “occupied territories” from Armenia.
“Azerbaijan has not resorted to any provocation. Azerbaijan simply defends its interests, supports its position, and pursues its policy openly. We have repeatedly stated that Nagorno-Karabakh is the historical and ancient land of Azerbaijan, and this is true. When the prime minister of Armenia says that “Karabakh is Armenia”, it is a lie. When I say that “Karabakh is Azerbaijan”, it is true. The whole world recognizes Nagorno-Karabakh as an integral part of Azerbaijan,” President Aliyev said in an address to his fellow citizens.
Aliyev added, “We are on the right path! Ours is the cause of justice! We will win! Karabakh is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!”
Accusing Armenia of firing on Azerbaijani military positions, President Aliyev said the Azerbaijani Army was responding to Armenia.
Source: Tehran Times