Iran: Armenia, Georgia only countries invited to Armenian Olympics in Tehran

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Following media controversy over display of the emblem of disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region in the opening of the 48th edition of Armenian Olympics in Tehran, Iran’s embassy in Baku explained that Armenia and Georgia are the only foreign countries invited to the games.

Iran’s embassy in the Republic of Azerbaijan issued a statement on Saturday, stressing that the executive committee of the games has invited foreign guests only from Armenia and Georgia, stressing that “no other country or region is being represented in the competitions.”

The statement made it clear that the move to display the emblem of any other party on the sports apparel of a certain participating country in the opening of the games “has not been coordinated with the executive committee.”

The embassy underlined that Iran is opposed to the employment of athletic games for political purposes, noting that the Armenian Olympics is “an internal affair” organized with the purpose of showing respect to religious minorities.

Iran’s policy toward the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has not changed, the statement added, saying Iranian officials also took part in the opening of the event to show respect for religious minorities.

Nagorno-Karabakh has been under the control of Armenian military and separatists since a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan ended in 1994. Years of negotiations have brought little progress in resolving the dispute.

The mountainous and heavily-forested patch of land sits inside the territory of ex-Soviet Azerbaijan, but the ethnic Armenians who make up the vast majority of the population reject Azeri rule and have been running their own affairs since Azerbaijan’s troops were pushed out in a war in the 1990s.

By Tasnim News Agency