Iran was the first country to be a mediator in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. At the invitation of Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a delegation led by first Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosyan arrived in Tehran on May 6, 1992. Among other issues, the sides discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Some time after Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati’s visit to Yerevan, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Vayezi arrived in Azerbaijan and Armenia to persuade the sides to reach an agreement on concluding a truce.
On May 8, 1992 Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosyan, Azerbaijani acting President Yaqub Mammadov and President of the mediator country, Iran, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, signed a joint declaration on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, according to which Mahmud Vayezi was to visit the region (Baku, Yerevan, Stepanakert) to work out mechanisms for truce.
On May 8, the day when the joint declaration was signed, Shoushi was liberated by Armenian forces, and Iran’s mediation mission was interrupted.
Although Iran’s mediation mission was interrupted by Shoushi’s liberation, in the following years, as an authoritative member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Iran has carried out a balanced policy towards the Karabakh issue, which creates a precedent for a number of Islamic countries not to give way to Azerbaijan’s provocations aimed at giving a religious coloring to the Karabakh conflict, and to have a neutral position on Karabakh. Iran believes that the activities of the OSCE Minsk Group are inefficient and therefore it offers mediation to the conflicting parties.
Although Azerbaijan blames Iran for its defeat in the Karabakh war saying that Iran supported Armenia during the war, indeed, Iranian officials acknowledge that Iran provided military and financial assistance to Azerbaijan during the war.
Although Iran’s ambassador to Azerbaijan, some members of the Iranian Majlis and clerics sometimes make statements that run counter to Tehran’s position, Iran’s President and Foreign Minister announce that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be resolved through negotiations, with the involvement of the regional countries, based on the fundamental principles of international law.
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