Armenia and Iran complicit in drug trafficking for 30 years



Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said his country blocked the drug route between Iran and Jabrayil district to Armenia to Europe.

Azerbaijani military officers hoist the Azerbaijani flag while singing the Azerbaijani national anthem during the ceremony celebrating the liberation of the city of Zangilan from Armenian forces, in Zangilan, Azerbaijan, November 8, 2020 (AA Archives)

The Azerbaijani President said that after the victory in the Karabakh war last year, Azerbaijan prevented drug trafficking from Iran to Armenia and further to European countries.

“In the past year, after Azerbaijan regained control of the 130-kilometer (81-mile) section of the state border with Iran, which was under Armenia’s control for approximately 30 years, and thus blocked a drug trafficking route from Iran through the Jabrayil district in Azerbaijan to Armenia and further into Europe, the volume of heroin that we have seized in other sections of the Azerbaijani-Iranian border has doubled compared to the same period in previous years. This suggests that for about 30 years, Armenia, together with Iran, used the occupied territories of Azerbaijan to engage in drug trafficking to Europe ”, declared Ilham Aliyev at the conference of heads of state of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) by videoconference.

Aliyev stressed that during the years of occupation by Armenian forces, he repeatedly said that the occupied territories were used “for drug trafficking and the training of international terrorists”.

“It is a fact of life today,” he said.

Regarding the so-called “Armenian prisoners of war”, Aliyev said that his country handed over all prisoners of war detained during the war “earlier than Armenia handed over Azerbaijani prisoners of war” to Baku.

“More than two weeks after the signing of the trilateral declaration (between Moscow, Baku and Yerevan) at the end of November last year, a sabotage group of 62 people infiltrated the rear of the Azerbaijani armed forces in the already liberated territories of the Shirak region of Armenia to commit subversions. It was disarmed and captured by Azerbaijani military. Therefore, in accordance with international conventions, these saboteurs cannot be considered prisoners of war “, did he declare.

He said that war and conflict “are a thing of the past”, and that Azerbaijan is ready to start negotiations with Armenia on the delimitation of the border on the condition of mutual recognition of territorial integrity.

“We are also ready to start negotiations on a peace agreement with Armenia. Azerbaijan, as a victorious country, is ready to normalize relations. We hope that the Armenian leadership will not let this historic opportunity pass by.” , did he declare.

READ MORE: Why is Iran deploying troops on its border with Azerbaijan?

Mine clearance

Aliyev stressed that the main problems facing Azerbaijan are related to demining in the liberated territories and restoration of destroyed infrastructure, buildings, houses and historical sites of Azerbaijanis.

“Since the end of the war, more than 150 Azerbaijani citizens have been killed or seriously injured by landmines. Armenia refuses to provide us with full maps of minefields. The few such maps that have been provided to Azerbaijan have an accuracy of around 25%, “he said.

The president said almost all historic buildings and sites in the liberated territories have been destroyed in nearly 30 years of occupation.

“Of the 67 mosques in the liberated territories, 65 have been completely destroyed. The other two, both in poor condition, were used by the occupiers to keep pigs and cows, deliberately insulting the feelings of Muslims.

He pointed out that in Shusha – known as the Pearl of Karabakh – Armenia destroyed 16 of the 17 mosques that were there before the occupation.

“A mosque was left to show ‘tolerance’ and there was an attempt to portray it as Persian with the complicity of so-called Iranian specialists,” he said.

“Houses and public buildings have been demolished brick by brick and sold to Armenia and Iran. This is the legacy of Armenian vandalism perpetrated in the territories of Azerbaijan, ”Aliyev said.

The Azerbaijani leader also noted that “immense damage” has been caused to nature as around 60,000 hectares of forests have been “cut, sawn down and sold to Armenia and Iran”.

Illegal exploitation has been carried out on Azerbaijan’s gold deposits and other natural resources, he said.

Liberation of Karabakh

Relations between the former Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been strained since 1991, when the Armenian army occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of the ‘Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

New clashes erupted on September 27 last year, which saw Armenia launch attacks against civilians and Azerbaijani forces and violate several humanitarian ceasefire agreements.

During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several towns and nearly 300 settlements and villages which have been occupied for nearly three decades.

A November 10, 2020 ceasefire agreement brokered by Russia also provided for future efforts for a comprehensive resolution of the dispute.

The ceasefire is seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia, from which the armed forces withdrew in accordance with the agreement.

Before the victory, around 20% of Azerbaijani territory was under illegal occupation.

On January 11, the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a pact to develop economic ties and infrastructure for the benefit of the entire region. It also included the creation of a trilateral working group on Karabakh.

READ MORE: What is Iran’s role in the Armenia-Azerbaijan clash?

Source: AA


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