Zarif on Karabakh conflict: Iran won’t tolerate terrorists’ presence near borders

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has warned about the transfer of Daesh remnants to the Nagorno-Karabkh region amid ongoing fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia, saying the Islamic Republic will not tolerate the presence of Takfiri terrorists near its borders.

Speaking to IRIB news agency on Sunday, Zarif said Iran was almost sure about the presence of terrorist elements in the Karabakh clashes, stressing that the situation was not in any side’s interest.

“In recent talks and even before, we informed the officials of Azerbaijan and Armenia, as well as those of Russia and Turkey, that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not tolerate such a thing,” he underlined.

“Currently, these terrorists are not present along our borders, but the probability that they will be present at a distance from our frontiers is still high, and we have declared this concern to both sides.”

The South Caucasus enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but is populated and controlled by ethnic Armenians.

For years, the two former soviet republics have been locked in a conflict over the region. Though a ceasefire was agreed in 1994, Baku and Yerevan continue to accuse each other of shooting attacks around the disputed area.

The fresh Karabakh escalation began on September 27. It has been rated the worst fighting to plague Karabakh since 1992, when Armenians invaded the region and forced Azeris into a retreat.

More than 1,000 people, including more than a 100 civilians, have reportedly died in the violence.

A number of stray shells and projectiles have crossed the Iranian border, prompting stern warnings from Tehran.

Some reports have emerged about the deployment of terrorists from Syria and Iraq to the conflict zone near the Iranian border.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Zarif outlined Iran’s peace plan aimed at resolving the Karabakh conflict and the withdrawal of occupying forces from the occupied areas.

“We believe that the countries in the region will see the most damage in this war, and [thus] they can have the greatest impact on ending the war in the region,” he said.

Earlier this week, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi concluded a tour of Azerbaijan, Russia, Armenia and Turkey to promote Tehran’s initiative for the peaceful resolution of the crisis.

Zarif further said that Iran was now waiting for those countries to give their opinion about the proposal, which guarantees the people’s rights and calls for the establishment of communication channels under the supervision of regional states.

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