ASTANA — Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi reportedly again warned against attempts to change Iran’s “historical” border with Armenia when he met with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev on Thursday.
According to a senior aide to Raisi, he also spoke out against “any European military presence” in the region.
The two presidents met in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on the sidelines of a regional summit. A statement on the talks released by Aliyev’s office cited them as praising Azerbaijani-Iranian relations and pledging to deepen them.
“President Raisi made clear to president Aliyev of Azerbaijan that any change in historical borders, regional geopolitics and Iran-Armenia transit routes is not tolerable,” tweeted Mohammad Jamshidi, a deputy chief of the Iranian president’s staff.
“Also, any European military presence under any guise is rejected,” he said. “The West can’t distract us strategically.”
It was not clear if Jamshidi responded to the European Union’s plans to deploy later this month civilian monitors to Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan where heavy fighting left at least 280 soldiers dead last month.
Iran’s top army general, Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, said on September 22 that Tehran “will not tolerate” attempts to redraw neighboring Armenia’s borders.
Bagheri echoed warnings repeatedly issued by Iranian leaders both before and after the outbreak on September 13 of large-scale fighting at various the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. One of those sections is in Syunik, the sole Armenian province bordering Iran.