Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani has stressed Tehran’s readiness to mediate between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. In a Monday meeting with Secretary of Azerbaijan’s National Security Council Ramiz Mehdiyev, Larijani said that regional countries are capable of solving their problems through close cooperation.
“In this regard, the Islamic Republic of Iran stresses its readiness to contribute to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis,” he said.Larijani pointed to numerous cultural, religious and geographical commonalities between Iran and Azerbaijan and described their relations as brotherly and friendly. He underlined the significance of using the potentials of the two countries to develop bilateral political, economic and cultural ties, adding that Majlis supports any approach aimed at boosting cooperation and relations based on mutual respect and common interests. Mehdiyev, for his part, said that Iran is a friend of Azerbaijan and there are deeply historical bonds between the people of the two states. He warned against efforts by certain foreign countries to disturb friendly relations between Tehran and Baku, urging the consolidation of relations. He also welcomed Iran’s efforts to help the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Both Azerbaijan and Armenia claim the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is largely populated by Armenians but located in Azerbaijan. Ethnic Armenian forces took control over the enclave which accounts for 16 percent of Azerbaijan in the early 1990s during a six-year war with the country that took place from February 1988 to May 1994. The conflict left an estimated 30,000 people dead and one million displaced before the two sides agreed to a cease-fire in 1994. However, a peace accord has never been signed and the dispute still remains unsettled. Iran has on several occasions offered to intervene in the dispute. AR/HGH