After disintegration of the Soviet Union, the Islamic Republic of Iran was one of the first countries to offer its meditation efforts in search of a peaceful resolution to the conflict between Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh.
In February of 1992 the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ali Akbar Velayati held negotiations with the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan on the settlement of the conflict. During these negotiations, the Iranian side expressed readiness to provide all the necessary support in order to decrease tensions in the conflict zone and invited the Armenian and Azerbaijani delegations to Tehran for further consultations. As a result of a series of negotiations between the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, Mahmoud Vaezi and the Advisor to the President of Armenia, Vahan Papazian and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, Albert Salamov a 14-point draft statement was crafted. However, it was never adopted because the President of Azerbaijan objected to the provision about the status of Nagorno Karabakh1.
Starting from March 1992, the Iranian Mediatory Mission led by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs M. Vaezi visited Baku, Yerevan, Stepanakert and Nakhichevan numerous times and had meetings with the leaders of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. At the same time, the Iranian delegation visited Moscow and conducted consultations with the Russian side trying to get Russia’s support for its mediation efforts.
On March 21, 1992 a temporary ceasefire was established, mediated by Iran. To coordinate the efforts of the sides aimed at observing the ceasefire, Iranian representatives were dispatched to Baku, Stepanakert and Yerevan. However, the attempts to prolong the ceasefire on a permanent basis failed2.
During the period of Iran’s mediation efforts, there was no real progress in the negotiation process because the key issues – the status of Nagorno Karabakh and its participation in the talks remained unresolved. The Azerbaijani side rejected the negotiations with the participation of the NKR official representatives.
With tensions growing, the Iranian side undertook one more attempt to achieve progress in the process of the settlement of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh. On May 7, 1992, a trilateral meeting was held between the President of Iran, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the President of Armenia, Levon Ter-Petrosyan and the Acting President of Azerbaijan, Yagub Mammadov. A joint declaration was signed as its result.
However, because of the escalation of hostilities and the absence of representatives of the NKR in the Tehran meeting, the agreements were never implemented.
After the victory of the Azerbaijani Popular Front in the presidential elections in June of 1992, Iran was forced to terminate its mediation efforts, due to the fact that the new President of Azarbaijan, Abulfaz Elchibey rejected any mediation initiative coming from Iran3 .
3. Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, "Iran's Role as Mediator in the Nagorno-Karabakh Crisis," in Contested Borders in the Caucasus, edited by Bruno Coppieters
Mahmoud Vaezi, Karabakh's Crisis: Iran's Mediation and the Aftermath