Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman says Tehran’s policy towards the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute has not changed, and the country is still prepared to help Armenia and Azerbaijan Republic settle the dispute peacefully.
Bahram Qassemi made the comment in response to a question by the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA) regarding the recent trip to Tehran by the Armenian prime minister.
“As I have repeated time and again, the Islamic Republic of Iran has a clear, transparent and clear-cut stance towards all its neighbours,” said the spokesman.
“The top priority of Iran’s foreign policy is its neighbours. We are keen on having strong ties with our neighbours based on mutual respect and non-interference in [each other’s] domestic affairs and at the same time seeking to further expand our relations,” Qassemi noted.
“In our estimation, Iran’s relations with any of the neighbouring countries will, undoubtedly, not be against the interests of a third country, be it one of the neighbours or another country in the world,” he added.
He then touched upon relations between the former Soviet Union’s breakaway republics with Iran.
“Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the independence of republics in Central Asia and the Caucasus, balanced relations have been in place between Iran and Armenia in compliance with all principles governing relations between neighbours and [in compliance with] neighbourhood rights,” Qassemi said.
He said the Armenian premier’s trip to Iran is also evaluated within the framework of these relations and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s foreign policy vis-à-vis all its northern neighbouring countries.
“Relations between Iran and the Azerbaijan Republic, as two neighbouring countries with common traditions, customs, culture and religion, have always been growing after the independence period, with a look to further development and deepening of ties on all fronts as stressed by officials of both countries ,” he said.
“Taking a look at the number of delegations exchanged between the two sides at different levels, especially in recent years, and particularly meetings between the foreign ministers and presidents and the agreements reached bears testimony to this reality and shows the depth of relations between Iran and Azerbaijan,” said the spokesman.
“Iran believes the stability, security and economic development of the Azerbaijan Republic, Armenia and other neighbouring countries amount to the all-out development of this sensitive region in the world. Indubitably, we want all tensions, indignation, insecurity and instability in relations between our neighbours to be removed,” said Qassemi.
He then referred to Tehran’s policy vis-à-vis the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s policy towards the Karabakh dispute remains a clear and transparent one, and has not changed. We believe this issue, which can be a cause for concern for countries around us, should be settled based on international regulations and through dialogue,” said the spokesman.
“It is important for the Islamic Republic of Iran that its relations with Armenia and the Azerbaijan Republic are not affected by the Karabakh dispute; so, Iran will continue to pursue its fundamental and logical policy on this issue, and we strongly hope that this conflict is peacefully settled as soon as possible on the back of peaceful efforts by authorities of these two countries using dialogue and negotiations and all diplomatic tools and channels,” he said.
Qassemi once again announced Tehran’s preparedness to help resolve the conflict.
“As it has tried in the past to settle this lingering issue between the two countries, the Islamic Republic of Iran stands ready to make every effort in that regard,” he noted.
“We take pride in that followers of all divine faiths, including the Armenian community, have, over the past centuries, lived side by side in Iran as a country which has an ancient culture and civilization, and have enjoyed the necessary facilities and opportunities to practice their own religious rites and rituals.”
“Today, thanks to the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, representatives from the Armenian, Zoroastrian and Jewish communities are present at the Iranian parliament,” he said.
“The presence of the Armenian prime minister at the Ararat sports club in Tehran and his meeting with members of the Armenian community does not seem an illogical action per se, but, undoubtedly, hanging a few banners bearing statements in the Armenian language about the Karabakh dispute at the location of the Ararat cultural and sports complex is an arbitrary and unacceptable move and is not approved of by the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said.