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Iran Denies Borders Change After Karabakh Peace Deal

Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh, in a press conference on Monday October 12, 2020.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh, in a press conference on Monday October 12, 2020.

The spokesman for the Iranian Ministry, Saeed Khatibzadeh, has dismissed recent reports that Iran has lost its border with Armenia.

Previous reports said that Iran would lose its borderline with Armenia based on the recent Russian-brokered peace deal between Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, which ended six weeks of fierce fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh.

"Last week, we faced a series of baseless media claims that there will be a change in the map of the region after the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis. Some fake maps were published in this regard that was media mischief," Khatibzadeh said, adding, "Iran's border in the northwestern regions has not changed at all and is not going to change in the future either."

Meanwhile, the Islamic Republic's official news agency, IRNA, cited Khatibzadeh as saying on Monday that the corridor connecting the Republic of Azerbaijan to Nakhchivan via Armenia was "a transit road and that is how we understand and follow it."

Before the recent conflict, the only land connection between Nakhchivan and the Republic of Azerbaijan was through Iran or bypassing Georgia and Turkey.

According to the peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the road in question can also facilitate the communication between the Republic of Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Last week, Turkey announced that it planned to build a railway from its northeastern city of Kars to Nakhchivan. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was inaugurated three years ago, and now it can be connected to Nakhchivan.

The Fars News Agency previously described Azerbaijan's dominance over the Nagorno-Karabakh border strip as an "ominous development against Iran," stressing that "Ankara no longer needs an Iranian transit route to reach Azerbaijan."

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corp-linked news agency, IRGC, also noted that Iran had lost its transit route to Armenia, adding that Russia and Turkey could "easily exclude Iran from any future energy transfer routes to Europe," causing Tehran billions of dollars in damage.

Nonetheless, days before the ceasefire between Baku and Yerevan on November 3, Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said, "All the lands of Azerbaijan must be liberated."

His speech was immediately interpreted to signal Iranian support for Azerbaijan.

During the Baku-Yerevan 44-day war, Armenian forces were forced to retreat from large parts of the areas under their control, especially along Iran's borders.

Under the November 10 ceasefire agreement, Armenian troops outside Karabakh must gradually leave the area.

The Nagorno-Karabakh region will temporarily be under the control of Russian peacekeeper forces, and Turkish troops will be present at an already-established peacekeeping center.

Armenians set fire to their homes before leaving some areas, Reuters reported.