BAKU: Azeri campaigner slams Iran for ties with separatist Karabakh

Azeri campaigner slams Iran for ties with separatist Karabakh

Ekspress, Baku
27 Aug 04

Text of Alakbar Raufoglu’s report by Azerbaijani newspaper Ekspress on
27 August headlined “Iran regards Karabakh as its own province” and
subheaded “Cahandar Bayoglu: A document signed between Ardabil
Province and Karabakh separatists describes Nagornyy Karabakh as the
‘Artsakh state'”

Tehran’s interest in increasing investment in Nagornyy Karabakh stands
behind Iranian-Armenian talks, the chairman of the committee to
protect the rights of the [NRMSA] National Revival Movement of
Southern Azerbaijan [northwestern Iran], Cahandar Bayoglu, told
Ekspress yesterday commenting on Iranian President Mohammad Khatami’s
scheduled visit to Armenia in September.

He said that official Tehran suggested that Armenian businessmen
expand activities in Southern Azerbaijan in exchange for assistance by
Persian businessmen to Nagornyy Karabakh.

The chairman of the committee said that an “economic cooperation
accord” consisting of 30 points had been signed between the so-called
Nagornyy Karabakh republic [NKR] and Ardabil governor-general’s office
during the visit by so-called NKR economists to Ardabil a short time
ago. The document describes Karabakh as the “Artsakh state”. This
shows that Tehran is insincere in its statements that it supports
Azerbaijan in the Karabakh settlement, the chairman of the committee

Iran obviously regards Karabakh as its province and continues to cast
doubt on Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. Therefore, the committee
to protect the rights of the NRMSA calls on the Azerbaijani government
to demand an explanation of this from official Tehran in the run-up to
the Iranian president’s visit to Armenia.

To recap, the visit of “Karabakh economists” to Ardabil last month was
accompanied by mass protest actions in Southern Azerbaijan. In an
interview with Ekspress during his visit to Baku, the governor of
Western Azerbaijan, Nariman Sobhan-Elahi, described his country’s
cooperation with Karabakh Armenians as a normal issue that caused no

The Iranian embassy in Baku has no information about the signing of
any agreement between Ardabil Province and the Karabakh separatists.

“We know nothing about this,” the embassy told Ekspress.

Incidentally, Azerbaijanis living in Sweden are concerned about
Iranian President Khatami’s unexpected visit to Armenia.

“We condemn this visit. A total of 30m Turks living in Southern
Azerbaijan see this step by Khatami as a gesture of disrespect,” a
statement by the Azerbaijani Federation – Swedish Committee sent to
Ekspress says.

The organization has sent a letter to the Iranian president protesting
against the visit.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress