Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is warning that current fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan could spill over its borders and evolve into a regional war.
President Rouhani expressed his concerns about the conflict Wednesday during a meeting with his cabinet ministers.
Hundreds of civilians and soldiers have been killed in fighting now in its 10th day between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory. Iran shares its northwestern border with both Armenia and Azerbaijan and has good diplomatic relations with both nations.
Iranian news reports have said that stray mortar shells have landed on Iranian border villages and towns, leaving buildings damaged and a six-year-old child wounded.
Rouhani also warned that Tehran will not tolerate any nation sending “terrorists” to Iran’s borders under any pretext.
Turkey has been accused of sending Syrian fighters into the region in support of Azerbaijan, its longtime ally — a charge that Ankara denies.
Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly ethnic Armenian territory which sits inside Azerbaijan, declared its independence from Baku in 1991 during the collapse of the Soviet Union, sparking a war that claimed the lives of as many as 30,000 people before a cease-fire was declared in 1994, leaving it controlled by ethnic Armenians.
Peace efforts in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Minsk Group, comprised of the United States, France and Russia, collapsed in 2010.