THE HAGUE (http://www.jebhemelli.info/?p=15193) — Since December 12, a number of Azerbaijani citizens who identified themselves as “environmental activists” have blocked the Lachin corridor, the only way to connect Artsakh (or Nagorno-Karabakh, the disputed region between Azerbaijan and Armenia) with the outside world. The guarantee of free passage of the corridor is entrusted to Russian peacekeeping forces under a document signed on November 9, 2020 by Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, who appear to be unable to distance Azerbaijanis from the passage and free the route – or who, possibly at the behest of their higher authorities, do not desire to do this.
The result is that the population of approximately 120,000 of the region, under a self-governing republic, are under siege and it is not possible to provide them with supplies, fuel, and humanitarian assistance.
Every day there is worrying news about the status quo in the region, shops empty of goods, closed businesses, separated families, and children deprived of proper care.
The display of Azerbaijan’s “environmental protesters” was so absurd that Aliyev was not able to persuade international public opinion, because how can we, in the name of environmental protection, escalate a humanitarian crisis of these dimensions and deprive a mass of people of the right to free movement, medical facilities, fuel supplies, etc.? Blockading a region and closing its connections to the outside world itself is a criminal act, and to do such an inhumane act with claims to protect the environment is not accepted in any civilized society.
It is even more absurd because, according to international environmental authorities, Azerbaijan itself is one of the most polluted countries in the world due to oil and gas exploration operations and extensive mineral activities. Moreover, no one has yet forgotten the use of phosphorous chemical weapons by the Baku army in the 44-day 2020 war against Artsakh with lasting destructive effects on the environment and residents of the region.
Now Aliyev is trying to blame “Russian peacekeepers,” and Russia, of course, is not capable of confronting the Baku regime, which enjoys full Turkish support, because of the conflict in Ukraine. The fact is that behind the war actions and aggressions of the rulers of Baku and Moscow against Artsakh lie an ominous pan-Turkic and Russian plan to force Armenia to open the so-called “Zangezur corridor” through its territory, something about which they themselves now explicitly speak.
Calls by international authorities and leaders of countries, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, to open the passage have so far been ignored by Azerbaijan and Russia. It should be noted that when the issue was raised at the UN Security Council last December 20 and the Council was actually close to an agreement and a consensus to send international peacekeepers to Artsakh, Russia proposed unacceptable conditions which led to the collapse of the agreement. These behaviors have led Armenia to think about withdrawing from the Collective Security Treaty Organization which is under Russia’s leadership.
It is worthwhile to remember that during the crisis of the blockade of Artsakh, a region with historical ties to and in the geostrategic sphere of Iran, the Islamic Republic has only made ineffective statements about the need to reopen the corridor, while in the event of a continuation of the status quo and Armenia’s being forced to make concessions, Iran’s strategic interests will also be compromised and the Caucasus region will fall completely out of Iran’s sphere of influence.
The National Front of Iran – Europe condemns the criminal act of the Baku regime and its agents in closing the Lachin corridor and calls on the authorities of Baku to open the vital passageway connecting Artsakh to the outside world. It also calls on the Russian government to fulfill its international obligations, secure the free passage of the region’s inhabitants and avoid aiding in the realization of the disastrous pan-Turkic plans.