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Iran urges Azerbaijan, Armenia to exercise restraint, avoid violence amid new border clashes

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Azeri service members take part in a procession marking the anniversary of the end of the 2020 military conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh breakaway region, involving Azerbaijan's troops against ethnic Armenian forces, in Baku, Azerbaijan, on November 8, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

Iran has voiced concern over the latest border clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia, urging the two neighbors to exercise restraint and resort to dialogue to resolve differences.

“As in the past, the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to help the two sides settle differences and establish stability and peace in the region," Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Tuesday.

He added that all countries should respect internationally recognized borders and called on Baku and Yerevan to patch up differences through dialogue and peaceful channels.

The Iranian spokesperson warned that the ongoing challenges would pose a danger to the gradual process to the promotion of regional peace and progress.

Armenia and Azerbaijan on Tuesday accused each other of initiating fighting along their shared border amid renewed border clashes between the arch foes a year after their war over contested territory.

Russia’s Interfax news agency cited Armenia’s parliament as saying that 15 Armenian soldiers had died in clashes on the country’s border with Azerbaijan. The parliament added that 12 of their soldiers had been captured by Azerbaijan.

On the other side, the Azeri Defense Ministry also spoke of a tense situation on the border with Armenia and said a military operation was underway to repel large-scale “provocations.”

Russian media reported on Tuesday that Armenia had asked Moscow to help defend its territorial sovereignty against attacks by Azerbaijani forces.

Tensions between Yerevan and Baku remain high a year after the arch-foes fought a war over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. The six-week conflict, which claimed more than 6,500 lives on both sides, ended last November with a Russian-brokered deal that left Azerbaijan largely in control of the territory.

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but has been populated by ethnic Armenians. Russia has deployed 1,960 peacekeepers to the region for an initial five-year period. Since the truce, the two sides have accused each other of breaching the peace deal.

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