“Any foreign intervention in this matter not only won’t help resolve the problem, but also will prolong the conflicts and tensions and complicate the situation,” Rouhani told Arminian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan over the phone on the fourth day of deadly fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Rouhani expressed his concern about the tension between its two bordering countries, saying that “war is not a good solution to disputes”.
He said the region “does not tolerate instability and new wars” and urged both Yerevan and Baku to “immediately halt the conflict”.
The Iranian president said Armenia and Azerbaijan must resolve their territorial disputes politically and “within the framework of international law”.
Rouhani announced Iran’s readiness to play a constructive role desired by the two neighboring countries to help end the conflict.
Pashinyan noted that tensions are “detrimental to all regional nations” and said Armenia welcomes “any initiative” to help end violence.
He also expressed his concern about any foreign interference in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Fourth day of fighting
ََِArmenian and Azerbaijani forces are engaged in the heaviest fighting in years over Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian province that broke away from Azerbaijan in the 1990s during the collapse of the Soviet Union, AFP reported.
The long-simmering conflict erupted on Sunday with the two sides trading heavy fire and blaming each other for the outbreak of violence.
Nearly 100 people are confirmed to have died in the flare-up and both sides are claiming to have inflicted heavy losses on opposing forces.
There has been increasing international pressure for a cease-fire, as fears grow that the conflict could escalate into a devastating all-out war and draw in regional powers like Turkey and Russia.
Defense officials in Yerevan on Wednesday accused Turkish jets of performing "provocative flights" along their shared border and of violating Armenia airspace, a day after Yerevan said a Turkish jet had downed one of its warplanes.
Moscow, which has a military pact with Armenia but also good ties with Azerbaijan, has repeatedly called for an end to the fighting and offered to help with negotiations.
But Pashinyan said Wednesday that talks with Azerbaijan were not yet on the table.
"It isn't very appropriate to speak of a summit between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia at a time of intensive hostilities," Pashinyan said.
"A suitable atmosphere and conditions are needed for negotiations."
He said that Yerevan "at this point" is not planning to ask for intervention in the conflict by a Russian-led military alliance, the Collective Security Treaty Organization that comprises several former Soviet republics including Armenia.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev also rejected negotiations during an interview with Russian TV on Tuesday.
"The Armenian prime minister publicly declares that Karabakh is Armenia, period. In this case, what kind of negotiation process can we talk about?"
There has been no let-up in the fighting since the weekend, with both sides reporting new clashes on Wednesday.
Azerbaijan has released no information on its military casualties, while the Armenian side has registered 81 deaths. A total of 17 civilians have been reported dead.
Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry said Wednesday that "intense fighting was continuing", claiming that its forces have killed 2,300 Karabakh separatist forces since hostilities broke out.
The ministry said its troops had "destroyed 130 tanks, 200 artillery units, 25 antiaircraft units, five ammunition depots, 50 anti-tank units, 55 military vehicles".
It said Karabakh's separatist forces had "shelled the city of Terter, targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure."
Karabakh's Defense Ministry, for its part, said Azerbaijani forces "continued artillery shelling" of separatist positions along the frontline on Wednesday morning.
The two sides have accused each other of targeting civilian areas, including in areas away from Karabakh.
Yerevan is claiming that Turkey, a longstanding ally of Azerbaijan, is providing direct military support, including mercenaries, for Baku.
It said on Tuesday that a Turkish F-16 flying in support of Baku's forces had downed an Armenian Su-25 warplane, but Ankara and Baku denied the claim.
Karabakh's declaration of independence from Azerbaijan sparked a war in the early 1990s that claimed 30,000 lives, but it is still not recognized as independent by any country.
Armenia and Karabakh declared martial law and military mobilization Sunday, while Azerbaijan imposed military rule and a curfew in large cities.
France, Russia and the United States have mediated peace efforts as the "Minsk Group", but the last big push for a peace deal collapsed in 2010.
French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday condemned what he called Turkey's "reckless and dangerous" statements backing Baku, saying they "remove any inhibitions from Azerbaijan".