Mohammed Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of Iran, was in Yerevan on Wednesday (26 May) for a meeting with Armenia’s caretaker prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan. The top Iranian diplomat arrived in the Armenian capital from a visit to Baku where he met with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.
During the meeting Pashinyan raised the ongoing situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, referring to the Collective Security Treaty Organisation’s (CSTO) desire for the situation to be solved diplomatically, whilst raising the responsibility of CSTO member-states to respond to an act of aggression against another. Highlighting the death of an Armenian solider this week due to clashes on the border, the caretaker prime minister said that he looked forward to hearing Iran’s view on how to end the crisis.
On his part, Zarif highlighted the good and long-lasting relations and economic co-operation between the two countries – including the value to both their countries of the potential Iran-Nakhichevan-Armenia railway. Zarif stated, “we have always highlighted the principles of territorial integrity, sovereignty, and the peaceful resolution of crises. The Islamic Republic of Iran prioritises respect for international law”. Expressing regret that that Armenia “[had] been a victim of this new escalation”, Zarif said:
“Yesterday I had a very detailed and meaningful conversation with the President of Azerbaijan. I hope that today’s meeting, like the one I had with my esteemed colleague, will help resolve the crisis.”
The interlocutors reportedly went on to discuss ways that the current crisis could be ended, with Zarif expressing keen interest in reinstating regional stability, and preserving and ensuring Armenia’s territorial integrity.
Whilst in Yerevan, the Iranian foreign minister also met with the caretaker Armenian foreign minister, Ara Ayvazyan. During the meeting, after highlighting the importance of the high level political dialogue established between Armenia and Iran, Ayvazyan stated:
“Encouraged by the sense of impunity, Azerbaijan is trying to create new geopolitical realities which do not proceed from the interests of countries concerned in regional stability. In these conditions, the dialogue with our regional partners is more than important.”
Referring to his visits to both capitals, Zarif later tweeted:
Intensive talks in Azerbaijan & Armenia on bilateral ties & recent tensions.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) May 26, 2021
Iran has always insisted on respect for territorial integrity of all.
We welcome readiness of leaders on both sides to reach dignified mutual arrangements.
Huge possibilities for regional cooperation. pic.twitter.com/80VZyw5JGh