YEREVAN — Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reaffirmed Iran’s strong support for Armenia’s territorial integrity on Wednesday during a visit to Yerevan dominated by continuing tensions along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
Zarif arrived in the Armenian capital from Baku where he discussed the border dispute with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Tuesday.
“We are concerned about the escalations of the last two weeks,” he told Armenian Foreign Minister Ara Ayvazian during their talks. “We have repeatedly warned that there needs to be restraint and respect for the sovereignty of [regional] countries.”
Zarif said the purpose of his regional trip is to help Armenia and Azerbaijan resolve the dispute peacefully.
“We have emphasized and continue to emphasize that internationally recognized borders and territorial integrity is our red line,” added the chief Iranian diplomat.
“We highly appreciate the fact that the foreign minister of our centuries-old friend and neighbor Iran and my good partner Javad Zarif has arrived in Armenia on a regional visit in these alarming times and circumstances,” Ayvazian said during their joint news briefing. “This testifies to Iran’s sincere intention to try to strengthen security and stability in the region.”
Zarif met with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan later in the day. An Armenian government statement said they discussed “steps to resolve the existing situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.” It gave no details.
In his opening remarks at the meeting, Pashinyan said that relations with Iran are of “strategic importance” to Armenia and that his administration remains committed to deepening them. He said the Armenian-Iranian border has been vital for his country’s national security.
The Iranian Mehr news agency on Wednesday quoted Eslami as saying that he is satisfied with his “good meetings” held in Yerevan. Zarif likewise described Eslami’s visit as “very successful.”
“I hope that we will manage to establish strong presence in Syunik,” the Iranian foreign minister told Pashinyan.