Following the recent escalation of tensions around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, some Iranian clerics have voiced protests over the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan and called for bringing peace to the region.
“We wish to be there, at the Karabakh front, to fight against the Armenian soldiers,” Hassan Ameli, Iranian Ardabil’s Friday prayers leader, said to his audience on April 8.
“Personally, I am ready to pay my debt at the Karabakh front,” ISNA quoted Ameli as saying.
Razi Mousavi Shakouri, a Friday prayers leader in the city of Khoy, pointed out that the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the early 1990s left tens of thousands of killed, IRNA reported.
He said the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh will benefit the powers outside the region, adding that regional countries should help bring peace.
The Bileh Savar city’s Friday prayers leader Karim Qiasi also pointed to the necessity of bringing peace to the region.
“The soil and national dignity of Azerbaijan should be defended and foreign powers should be prevented from creating a conflict and a face-to-face war,” Fars news agency quoted Qiasi as saying Apr. 8.
On the night of April 2, 2016, all the frontier positions of Azerbaijan were subjected to heavy fire from the Armenian side, which used large-caliber weapons, mortars and grenade launchers. The armed clashes resulted in deaths and injuries among the Azerbaijani population. Azerbaijan responded with a counter-attack, which led to liberation of several strategic heights and settlements.
Military operations were stopped on the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian armies on Apr. 5 at 12:00 (UTC/GMT + 4 hours) with the consent of the sides, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry earlier said. Ignoring the agreement, the Armenian side again started violating the ceasefire.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.