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General

Iran after peace in Nagorno-Karabakh, a region in South Caucasus

During the past three decades, Iran has acted as a good neighbor to Armenia and Azerbaijan which have entered into war more than a month ago over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Iran through its peaceful measures plays an important role in the settlement of tranquility in two northern neighboring countries of Azerbaijan and Armenia.

The dispute over the border and ethnic issues that remained from the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) have turned the geopolitical South Caucasus into a sleeping volcano that can wake up every moment of these days as the conflict between Baku and Yerevan is at the peak of its period.

In 1994, some European countries decided to mediate between Azerbaijan and Armenia through the Minsk Group- Russia, France, and the US.

The mediation led to a ceasefire; however, international efforts to peacefully solve the dispute have been futile.

Azerbaijan, on one hand, wants preservation of territorial integrity; while, Armenia, on the other hand, calls for recognizing Armenians' rights in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Over a month ago, Azerbaijan and Armenia came into a conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a conflict that started in 1988 and led to military conflict in 1992.

A few days ago, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif talked of a plan drawn up by Tehran to make a permanent halt to the neighboring dispute.

Elaborating on the plan, Zarif had said that his deputy, Abbas Araghchi, is to follow up on it through regional visits.

Baku was Araghchi's first visit aimed at elaborating on Iran's peaceful plan.

After the Iranian deputy foreign minister started his visit to Baku three days ago, Araghchi traveled to Moscow to hold talks with the senior Russian officials whose concern over the dispute is the same as that of Iran.

Yerevan was the third leg of Araghchi's regional visit. After Armenia, the deputy foreign minister flew to Turkey where their officials have stood beside Azerbaijan at the dispute.

In Moscow, Araghchi told reporters that Iran's plan is aimed at ending the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict.

About Minsk Group, Araghchi said the US and France are kilometers far from the region, so they cannot play an effective role.

Ineffectiveness of the Group has proved after three decades of conflict which has not been halted yet, Araghchi believes.

As Araghchi noted, Iran's peaceful plan is drawn up based on human principles.

Iran wants a settlement of truce, cessation of the attacks on residential units and civilians, as well as the return of the displaced to their homes.

The first step of Iran's plan stresses the need to respect territorial integrity and rights of minorities, end the occupation, not call for changes in borders and not attack civilian centers and individuals.

Meanwhile, Iran's special envoy for the peace plan believes that the fulfillment of the plan is difficult as enemies are against regional stability, so they put obstacles to this end.

In Yerevan, Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan promised Araghchi to carefully review Iran's plan.

Mnatsakanyan said Yerevan understands Tehran's sensitivity over the new threats to regional security.

The Armenian foreign minister sees Iran's plan as the one coming from the responsible and constructive stance of the Islamic Republic.

In a related development, Assistant to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Hikmat Hajiyev has described Araghchi's Baku visit as fruitful.

Iran as a powerful country in the region is interested in settlement of regional peace and security, so it has the right to participate in the process of bringing about peace to the South Caucasus region, Hajiyev says.

Experts believe that Iran and Russia have remained impartial in dealing with the Nagorno-Karabakh and the two move towards the same side.

Russian officials have declared that they will soon give their opinion in detail about Iran's plan.

Iran's Ambassador to Moscow Kazem Jalali, too, has commented on Araghchi's regional visit, saying it indicated Tehran's active diplomacy to resolve regional disputes.

Three days ago, Jalali said that Tehran is deeply concerned about what is happening in the neighboring countries, so it makes all-out efforts for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Baku and Yerevan at the negotiating table.

Also four days ago, Four days ago, the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) announced that it has deployed forces to the northwestern part of the country to protect the common borders with Azerbaijan and Armenia amid ongoing military conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh which is close to the Iranian territory.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA


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