Tehran: Iran on Saturday warned Armenian and Azerbaijani forces of any “invasion” of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh area after mortars hit Iranian villages along the border.
“Any intrusion upon our country’s territory by either side of the conflict is intolerable (and) we seriously warn all sides to take the necessary precautions in this regard,” foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement.
He called for an end to the fighting between the two countries and stated that Iran is ready to promote talks at any time.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have been trapped in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict for decades. Nagorno-Karabakh is an ethnic Armenian region of Azerbaijan that broke away from Baku during the war in the 1990s and claimed about 30,000 lives.
Both sides ignored the international ceasefire call and accused the other side of starting a new emergency that began last Sunday, witnessing the fiercest fighting since the 1994 ceasefire.
Iran does not directly border Nagorno-Karabakh, but borders the neighboring Armenian-occupied Azerbaijani region, and fighting has taken place in the past week.
The national news agency IRNA said that since Monday, several rounds of mortars have attacked Iranian villages.
On Wednesday, a six-year-old child was injured when five mortar shells hit the village of Parviz Khanlu in Azerbaijan Province, eastern Iran.
According to IRNA, “a large number” of those living along the border in Ardebil province “watch the firefight between Azeris and Armenians every day”.
Ardebil’s deputy governor Behrouz Nedayi has called on citizens to stay away from the conflict zone “given the intensity of the fighting.”