- The new border conflict is not related to the long-running Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
- Iran and Russia have both offered to mediate.
- The Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta says the leaders of both countries are attempting to distract their populations from domestic problems.
Eleven Azerbaijani soldiers and an army officer have been killed so far in the recurring border clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia. For its part, Armenia says two officers have been killed and five wounded. Iran and Russia have offered mediation to the two countries involved.
A new border conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia has taken place in the Tavush region, which is hundreds of kilometers away from the Nagorno-Karabakh region, and has nothing to do with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Colonel Waqif Dargahli, a spokesman for the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense, said that if Armenia decides to target the strategic facilities of Azerbaijan, including the Mingchevir Dam and hydropower plant, Azerbaijan will be able to attack the Metsamor nuclear power plant in Armenia with a pointed missile. This could be a disaster for Armenia.
The spokesman added that the natural situation of the place, and the air defense forces, do not allow the attack on the dam and the Mingchevir hydroelectric power plant.
Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman Artsuron Avansian also described Azerbaijan’s threat to attack the country’s nuclear power plant as a “crime.” Mingachuir is a very large hydropower plant for Azerbaijan, built on the Kerr River, and vital for the country’s electricity supply.
The Metsamor nuclear power plant is the only nuclear power plant in Armenia, built-in 1979, 37 km from Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. The plant was suspended after the devastating 1988 earthquake, and resumed operations in 1995.
Iran-Russia Proposal for Mediation
The escalation of tensions between the two neighboring and warring countries has taken on dimensions beyond a border conflict. The escalation of the conflict between the two countries could also drag the countries of the region into this conflict, and plunge the two countries into an erosive and destructive war.
“As always, Iran is ready to mediate and resolve the conflict between the Republic of Azerbaijan and Armenia,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in Ardabil on Thursday. He told reporters at a press conference:
“As soon as we received the news of the conflict in the region, in addition to the head of the president’s office contacting officials of the two countries, our foreign minister also called the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia and expressed regret over the conflict.”
Explaining Iran’s position, Mousavi said that Iran believes that regional issues, especially the problems of Azerbaijan and Armenia, should be resolved through dialogue and within a specific framework. Iran has declared its readiness to mediate between the parties to the conflict, he said.
Iran has repeatedly requested mediation, but the Azerbaijani authorities were skeptical of such requests from Iran, and considered Iran’s position in recent years to be more in favor of Armenia and biased. Russia’s foreign ministry is also ready to help Baku and Yerevan stabilize the border, Russia’s state-controlled outlet Sputnik reported.
The Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported today that the border dispute was over, in favor of Elham Aliyev and Nikol Pashinyan, the leaders of the two countries, so that they could divert their people’s attention from other problems. In a part of its analysis, the Russian newspaper stressed that a year has passed since Pashinyan’s prime ministership and dissatisfaction has increased in Armenia.
Pashinyan has now been able to turn his attention to foreign threats to reduce this dissatisfaction. According to the Moscow-based newspaper, Aliyev also managed to divert the growing dissatisfaction of Azerbaijani society.
The news of the border conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia has caused the long-standing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, for which no progress has been made so far, to resurface.
The Nagorno-Karabakh crisis began in 1988— prior to the independence of both countries— and continued after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. About 20% of the territory of Azerbaijan has been occupied by Armenia.
In 1994, with the help of the Minsk Group (US, Russia, and France), a ceasefire agreement was signed between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The tension has so far left more than 30,000 victims.