Following a joint meeting with the presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan, PM of Armenia conducted high-level discussions on the Caucasus conflict in Tehran. On Tuesday morning the Iranian president, formally welcomed Pashinyan, and the two spoke in Tehran.
In a joint news conference held after the meeting, the Iranian president stated that Tehran is “sensitive” about the Caucasus area because it has played a significant role in Iranian tradition, culture, and civilization, and because Iran values regional security and safety. The Iranian president said “our negotiations with Mr. Pashinyan led to the conclusion that resolving the issues of the region must occur at the hands of the officials and authorities of the region.”
“Any interference by foreigners will only create problems rather than solve them,” Raisi added. Regarding the possibility of the area to create lasting peace and security, Pashinyan declared that he concurs with Raisi.
Pashinyan requested that the Iranian government be properly informed about the details of Armenia’s discussions with Azerbaijan and Turkey on the tense Nagorno-Karabakh area.
He said that in this spirit, he spoke with Ebrahim Raisi about what had happened the day before at the Russian Black Sea port city of Sochi. Pashinyan had dinner with Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan there.
Putin had stated after the meeting that although the discussions were “extremely constructive,” the other two leaders would still need to work out some outstanding issues.
In a joint statement issued after the conference in Sochi, Baku and Yerevan decided not to deploy force and to solve all problems entirely on the basis of respect for mutual sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The two sides have been at war over Nagorno-Karabakh; although it is recognized by the international community as being a part of Azerbaijan, it is home to native Armenians.
Iran and Armenia; Focusing on Interests
After a brutal six-week battle in 2020 that resulted in a peace deal mediated by Russia, Azerbaijan reclaimed control over much of the region. However, violence broke out once more between the armed forces of the two former Soviet Unions last month, with 200 troops, or more, dying over many days.
Iran, which shares borders with both nations, has been urging a cease-fire in the conflict. Late last week, Iranian Foreign Minister spoke by phone with his Turkish colleague about the unrest in the Caucasus.
Tehran, meanwhile, has categorically opposed efforts by Baku and Ankara to build a new transportation route they have dubbed the “Zanzegur corridor” that would link the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan with the country’s heartland.
Top Iranian officials have stated time and time again that Iran will not allow any attempts to alter Iran’s borderlines or transit routes with Armenian soils.
In an effort to bolster this claim, Iran opened a consulate general in Kapan, which Baku and Ankara want for their corridor, becoming the first nation to build a diplomatic office in the southernmost Armenian province of Syunik. In the meantime, the Iranian military services conducted extensive military drills over a period of time in border regions with both countries.
Although the Aras River forms part of the borderline, the IRGC displayed footage of the construction of a pontoon bridge over a section of the river. The bridge is meant to transport forces and weapons to a northern part, still the Iranian territories.
Tehran has also become more outspoken about its desire to strengthen bilateral ties with Yerevan. Pashinyan’s visit was also partially intended at promoting this goal, with the Armenian leader claiming much of the conversations with Raisi focused with boosting economic and commercial connections.