MOSCOW (RFE/RL) — Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Dehqan discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on Wednesday when they met on the sidelines of an international security forum held in Moscow.
In a statement, the Armenian Defense Ministry said the two men expressed concern at the recent upsurge in fighting in the conflict zone and “attached importance to the need to ease tensions and create an atmosphere of mutual trust.” They agreed that the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute cannot be resolved militarily, said the statement.
According to the official Iranian IRNA news agency, Dehqan and Ohanian urged “all neighbors to de-escalate tensions.”
Dehqan phoned Ohanian and Azerbaijani Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov on April 3, the day after Azerbaijan launched offensive military operations along the Karabakh “line of contact.” He urged an immediate end to the hostilities, saying that they are a “source of deep concern” for the Islamic Republic.
A section of the Karabakh frontline adjacent to Iran was one of the two epicenters of heavy fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces. The fighting largely stopped on April 5 following a Russian-brokered agreement reached by Armenian and Azerbaijani army chiefs.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani held separate phone talks with his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts on April 6. He reportedly told them that renewed hostilities in Karabakh “would not be in the interests of all regional countries, especially the Republic of Azerbaijan and Armenia.”
The Iranian Fars news agency reported that “security cooperation” between Armenia and Iran was also on the agenda of Dehqan’s talks with Ohanian. The Armenian Defense Ministry likewise said that they discussed “prospects for further development” of bilateral defense ties.