On the anniversary of the first day of the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev insisted that the question of Nagorno-Karabakh’s status is closed and condemned ‘Iran’s disrespect for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan’.
In a public address, the Azerbaijani president touched upon the events of the year since the beginning of the war, Azerbaijani-Armenian relations, the recent relations between Iran and Azerbaijan and especially on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh.
‘There is no administrative territory called “Nagorno-Karabakh” in Azerbaijan, and if someone wants to resurrect a dead person called “Nagorno-Karabakh”, let him resurrect it on his territory’, Aliyev said.
Armenian officials, contrary to Aliyev, have been insistent that the status of Nagorno-Karabakh is not resolved, with Armenian officials in the disputed region adamant that they will not accept rule from Baku.
After giving the address, Aliyev and First Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva visited Baku’s Martyrs Alley to commemorate those killed during the war.
Tensions with Iran
In an interview with the Turkish state-run Anadolu News Agency published on the day of the war’s anniversary, Aliyev demanded that Iran ‘end disrespect for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan’.
He expressed consternation at the supposed travel of Iranian cargo trucks to the Armenian-inhabited parts of Nagorno-Karabakh currently under the purview of the Russian peacekeeping mission.
‘Is this trade important enough to openly disrespect the country you see as a friend and brother?’ Aliyev said.
Iranian trucks have previously been stopped by Azerbaijani border guards on sections of Armenia’s Goris-Kapan that cross the border into Azerbaijan and were searched and forced to pay customs duties.
According to Aliyev from 11 August to 11 September, ‘about 60 trucks’ had travelled from Iran to Nagorno-Karabakh. However, he said, since the searches and customs duties were applied ‘the number of trucks going to Karabakh has dropped to zero’.
For ease of reading, we choose not to use qualifiers such as ‘de facto’, ‘unrecognised’, or ‘partially recognised’ when discussing institutions or political positions within Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia. This does not imply a position on their status.