In this regard, Dr. Mohsen Pakaeen, Iran’s former ambassador to Azerbaijan has addressed the issue in an op-ed piece.
Stressing that the war is a bitter incident as it threatens the security of the region, Imam Khamenei stated: “This military skirmish should end as soon as possible. Of course, all lands belonging to the Republic of Azerbaijan and occupied by Armenia should be liberated and returned to Azerbaijan.”
His Eminence stressed the necessity to ensure the safety of the Armenians living in those lands and he demanded that the two sides respect international borders: “The terrorists who have entered the region, based on reliable reports, should never be allowed to get close to Iranian borders, but if the do so, they will definitely be confronted.”
The Supreme Leader’s statements about the Karabakh dispute originate from his justice-seeking outlook and are based on accepted international principles. Today, according to international laws, supporting the territorial integrity of countries is an accepted and irreversible principle. In his statements, Ayatollah Khamenei demanded support for the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the liberation of the lands occupied by Armenia. His insistence on the two sides respecting international borders means respecting the territorial integrity of neighboring countries. Today, occupying independent lands is not accepted and the country whose lands have been occupied has the right to fight for the liberation of its occupied lands. During the Sacred Defense Era, when certain Iranian territories were occupied, we too had the right to fight for liberating our lands and therefore, we recognize Azerbaijan’s right to do so.
Because of his belief in respecting minorities’ rights, His Eminence stressed the necessity for the Azerbaijani government to ensure the safety of the Armenians. The Armenians of Karabakh justify their independence from the Republic of Azerbaijan by exploiting the legal concept of “having the right to determine one’s fate”. However, according to well-established international laws, the right to determine one’s fate is defined under the concept of countries’ territorial integrity. In other words, ethnicities and minorities should pursue their rights by respecting national authority and the territorial integrity of their countries. In the Karabakh dispute, the Azerbaijani government should naturally assert the rights of the Armenians living in Karabakh – who are part of the Azerbaijani nation – within the framework of their national authority.
The Supreme Leader’s warning about the presence of takfiri groups in the Karabakh war zone and his insistence on the Islamic Republic’s firm response to the terrorists should they transgress against the Iranian borders is a calculated, firm and strategic position.
Unfortunately, regarding the war between the Republic of Azerbaijan and Armenia, one of the countries in the region is accused of encouraging the takfiri groups to show their presence in that war zone. This is a very unpleasant incident. Although it has been denied, evidence shows that takfiris are present in the region and they have even published in cyberspace some clips of their presence in war zones.
The existence of terrorism everywhere in the world has been and continues to be a source of insecurity and terror. If after having expelled the takfiris from Syria and Iraq, some people help their deployment in Iranian borders, they have certainly made a grave mistake. The countries involved in the war should take the Supreme Leader’s warning seriously and if they have made this mistake, they should make up for it.
We hope that in the future, the points and recommendations that the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution offered on the issue of Karabakh will be highlighted and attended to by the officials of the country – including the officials in charge of diplomacy and media.
As His Eminence stated, war is a bitter incident. We hope that the war will turn into a fair peace as soon as possible and that we will be witness to the establishment of security in the northern borders of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
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