Iran’s DM Urges Halt to Fighting between Armenia, Azerbaijan

Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan talked by phone with his Armenian and Azeri counterparts on Sunday, calling on the two sides to show restraint and settle disputes on the Nagorno-Karabakh region via peaceful negotiations.

According to the Defense Ministry, Brigadier General Dehqan called for an immediate end to the military confrontation between the two northern neighbors of Iran.

In the telephone conversations with Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov and Armenia’s Seyran Ohanian, the Iranian general called upon the two countries to exercise restraint and settle the conflicts through dialogue.

At least 30 soldiers have been killed in fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces along the frontlines of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Each side blames 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.