Iran warns of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict becoming regional war
Tehran, Oct 7 (efe-epa).- Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday warned of the possibility that fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh in the southern Caucasus could spill over into a wider regional conflict.
Iran has borders with both nations in its northwest and has previously reported that a number of projectiles from the conflict have crossed the frontier and landed on Iranian soil.
“We must be careful that this war does not turn into a regional war and those who pour gasoline on this war should pay attention that its continuation is not in the interest of any country and this war must end through political ways,” Rouhani told his cabinet, according to a statement from the presidency.
Rouhani said he opposed the occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region by Armenian separatists but was also against war.
“We hope that with the efforts that are being made, stability will return to this region.”
He added that under no circumstances would he accept the deployment of mercenaries plucked from armed opposition groups in Syria to the region.
France and Russia both said they had received reports that Turkey, Azerbaijan’s closest ally in the conflict, had transported Syrian fighters to the Nagorno-Karabakh region, something Ankara and Baku have denied.
Iran backs the Assad government in the Syrian conflict and opposes armed militias fighting against the regime, which includes jihadist groups.
Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, another regional power, addressed the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh on Wednesday during an interview with a local TV station.
“This is a tragedy,” he said. “The people of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh are no strangers to us. That two million Azerbaijanis and more than two million Armenians live in Russia goes without saying.”