Khamenei Representatives Declare Support For Azerbaijan In Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict
By Radio Farda October 03, 2020
In an unprecedented move, the representatives of the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in the provinces of Ardabil, East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan, and Zanjan, have issued a joint statement supporting the Republic of Azerbaijan.
"There is no doubt that Nagorno-Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan and its government's move to recapture the region is completely legal, according to Shari'a, and in line with four Resolutions of the United Nation's Security Council," Khamenei's representatives have asserted.
The signatories to the statement are mid-ranking clerics Hassan Alemi, Mohammad Ali Al-i Hashem, Ali Khatami, and Mehdi Qoreishi.
"The Azerbaijani government has acted in a completely legal and religious manner in recapturing these lands and has implemented four UN Security Council resolutions," they wrote in their statement on Thursday.
Three decades ago, Nagorno-Karabakh was occupied by Armenia, along with seven other Turkish-speaking areas. Since then, the UN Security Council has issued four resolutions calling for returning the lands to the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Apart from Armenia, no country has recognized these lands' occupation and the self-proclaimed government of the "Republic of Artsakh."
Last Saturday morning, widespread clashes between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began in Nagorno-Karabakh, and both sides rejected calls for a ceasefire.
The joint statement of Khamenei's representatives in the Turkish-speaking provinces of Iran seems to be in coordination with Khamenei's 'beit', or office, to console the Republic of Azerbaijan.
"Unfortunately, the enemies of the relationship between the two friendly countries (Iran and Azerbaijan) have recently raised a clamor under pretenses and accused the Islamic Republic of betrayal (against Azerbaijan)," the statement said, warning against the "enemies' psychological warfare."
Furthermore, the statement referred to the Azerbaijani soldiers killed in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as "martyrs of the great nation of Azerbaijan" and wished them "heavenly high ranks."
However, in recent days, Iran has been accused of assisting Armenia in its conflict with Azerbaijan.
Images are circulating on social media of allegedly Russian trucks carrying arms to Armenia via Iran.
Nevertheless, Iranian authorities have repeatedly denied assisting Armenia.
On Wednesday, September 30, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's Chief of Staff, Mahmoud Vaezi, denied several reports that Iran is assisting Armenia in its war with the neighboring Republic of Azerbaijan as "baseless rumors" aimed at disrupting Tehran-Baku relations.
Meanwhile, the state-run Mehr News Agency (MNA) reported on Friday, October 2, "Above twenty mortar shells from the military conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region have hit Iran's Aslandoz region in northwestern Ardabil province."
Since the start of the military conflict on Sunday, numerous mortar shells have hit the Iranian soil. Iran, the European Union, Russia, the United States, and several other countries have called for an immediate ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Copyright (c) 2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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