Iran’s president warns of regional war, condemns stray shells on Iranian soil

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday there was a danger that fighting between Azeri and ethnic Armenian forces could turn into a regional war.

Rouhani also told a cabinet meeeting that it was “totally unacceptable” for any mortar bomb or missile to land on Iranian soil after Iranian media said stray shells from fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave had fallen on villages near Iran’s northwestern border, wounding a child and damaging buildings.

“We must be attentive that the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan does not become a regional war. Peace is the basis of our work and we hope to restore stability to the region in a peaceful way,” Rouhani said.

“Our priority is the security of our cities and villages,” he said.

He also said Iran, which borders Armenia and Azerbaijan, would not allow states to “send terrorists to our borders under various pretexts”.

His comments followed accusations, first levelled by French President Emmanuel Macron, that Turkey has sent Syrian jihadists to the region.

Ankara, which is a close ally of Azerbaijan and backs rebels fighting Syrian government forces, has denied this.

Fighting broke out on Sept. 27 in Nagorno-Karabakh, which under international law belongs to Azerbaijan but is populated and governed by ethnic Armenians.