In a telephone conversation with his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev on Tuesday, Rouhani expressed concern about possible interference from foreign states in the dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia that could turn the clashes into a regional war.
“Security, stability and calm in the region, particularly along the northern borders (of Iran), are highly important to us,” the Iranian president said, stressing that such a conflict and the continuation of insecurity at the border should not prepare the ground for activities of terrorist groups.
Iran is monitoring the regional developments after a flare-up of tensions between its two neighbors with sensitivity and concern, Rouhani told the Azeri leader. “Peace in the region is greatly significant. However, the territorial integrity of the neighbors is also very important to us.”
Hailing Azerbaijan as a good neighbor with which Iran shares many historical, cultural and religious interests, Rouhani said the Islamic Republic has always adopted clear and explicit stances on the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.
The president also voiced concern about the spread of border clashes between Baku and Yerevan to cities, saying, “I hope the war and clashes would not lead to wars on cities, which will result in displacement of people and killing of civilians, which would be greatly painful and dangerous.”
The president called for an immediate end to the armed clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan, reiterating that Iran is ready for any measure to settle the disputes between Baku and Yerevan on the basis of international regulations and the recognized border between the two countries.
He also stressed the need to protect security of Iran’s common border with Azerbaijan and Armenia and the lives of Iranian villagers residing in the border areas amid the war, according to the government’s website.
For his part, Aliyev expressed gratitude to the Iranian officials for the “constructive stances” they have adopted on the respect for the territorial integrity of nations in order to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.
The Azeri president also noted that it is understandable that Iran is concerned about the security of its boundaries and the threat of rise of terrorist groups in the shadow of regional insecurity, stating, “We consider Iran’s security to be Azerbaijan’s security, and won’t allow the dispute to create insecurity in neighboring states.”
Aliyev also highlighted the strategic importance of ties with Iran, saying Baku welcomes closer relations with Tehran as the bilateral interaction has grown constantly in recent years.