Iran Urges Restraint in Nagorno-Karabakh Fighting

As tensions between Caucasian states Azerbaijan and Armenia have been running high with dozens of soldiers from both sides killed in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, Iran called on its northern neighbors to show restraint and immediately halt the bloody clashes.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari said the military clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia cause “serious concern” for Iran.

“While the region is witnessing devastating activities by extremist groups and is in need of calm and stability, the worrying reports of escalated clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh region have deeply concerned the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the spokesman said on Saturday night.

He then called on the two neighbors to exercise restraint and avoid taking any measures that could exacerbate the situation.

Jaberi Ansari also asked Baku and Yerevan to put an immediate end to the fighting and do their utmost to settle the disputes in a peaceful manner and within the framework of peace organizations and the UN.

At least 30 soldiers have been killed in fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces along the frontlines of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Both sides blamed the other for the fighting that began overnight.

Azerbaijan said on Saturday that Armenian forces killed 12 of its soldiers and shot down a helicopter.

Azeri troops, meanwhile, killed 18 ethnic-Armenian soldiers, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian said.

Nagorno-Karabakh has been under the control of Armenian military and separatists since a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan ended in 1994. Years of negotiations have brought little progress in resolving the dispute.

Fighting on Saturday marked the worst clashes since 1994, said David Babayan, spokesman for the region’s separatist president.