YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—One of Iran’s top clerics, Ayatollah Seyed Hassan Ameli, said that Iran supplied weapons and training to Afghan rebels who then fought on behalf of Azerbaijan during the Karabakh war. This comment has initiated mixed reactions in Armenia.
Armenia’s Defense Minister, Seyran Ohanian on Tuesday confirmed the Ayatollah’s statements saying that Afghan militants were fighting for Azerbaijan, a reality that was reported during the war.
“Afghan militants were definitely in the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh at a certain time,” Ohanian said commenting on reports by Iranian sources.
“They were withdrawn within the framework of different agreements and suffered huge losses as a result of the professional action of the Karabakh side,” added Ohanian.
Meanwhile officials at Iran’s Embassy in Yerevan said they did not want unreliable information to impact the friendly Armenian-Iranian relations.
The embassy neither confirmed, nor refuted Ayatollah Ameli’s statement, saying that the official stance of Tehran on the Karabakh conflict resolution has been articulated and voiced Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as well as the Iranian Ambassador to Armenia Seyed Ali Saghaeyan.
“We do not rule out the possibility that there are forces that aim create obstacles for our friendly relations,” an Iranian Embassy official said.