Friday prayers leaders' position on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

TEHRAN, Oct. 24 (MNA)- In recent months, with escalation of conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Karabakh region, Friday prayers leaders in northwestern part of country issued a statement, expressing a wise, precise position on the conflict.

Hojjatoleslam Reza Kafili, a graduate of the seminary in Qom and holder of Master’s Degree in Political Sciences, in a note explained the role of Friday prayers as country’s cultural diplomats:

One of the missing of human community in this contemporary era is ‘justice’. This issue is one of the pillars of Islamic values and one of the most important issues in the social sciences. Implementation of ‘justice’ is one of the serious concerns and demands of the nations in the world. According to the divine verses and hadiths of the Holy Prophet of Islam Hazrat Muhammad (S) and Infallible Imams of Household of Holy Prophet, it is necessary to implement this important concept i.e. ‘justice’ in societies, especially Islamic society precisely. ‘Justice’ in the field of society including economic, political, cultural, health, geographical and international fields is called social justice. Social justice means observance of meritocracy in the field of society, which with its pervasiveness and comprehensiveness in the world, individuals will achieve their rights. One of the main causes of oppression and corruption in society is the lack of observance of social justice in its various areas; because, if social justice is implemented well in society, people will get their rights and oppressors will be prevented from violating their rights.

Islamic Revolution of Iran, under the wise leadership of the late founding father of the Islamic Revolution Imam Khomeini (RA), challenged other existing discourses such as ‘Liberalism’ and ‘Marxism’ with raising pure Islamic slogans such as ‘Justice’ and it became a suitable model for other societies by institutionalizing a part of justice in society. Imam Khomeini (RA) said, “With a metaphysical and spiritual approach to justice, Islamic Revolution introduced it (justice) to all levels of Islam and religious life.”

In the same direction, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei set his main slogan and great goal beyond the justice.

Therefore, Islamic Republic of Iran, based on practical and theoretical life of the innocent Imams, considers supporting the oppressed and calling for slogan of justice in the world as one of its missions.

One of the issues that has recently been raised in the international community and has caused unrest in Caucasus region is the issue of war erupted between Republic of Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict arose in the post-Soviet era as a result of the collapse of a world power that 20 percent of the land and territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan was occupied in 1990-1992, based on which, about one million Azeri citizens were expelled from this region. Due to the severity of the crisis, Islamic Republic of Iran, along with other international powers, sought a solution to mediate in this matter, which international and regional powers prevented Iran from playing role due to fears of Iran's role in Central Asia and the Caucasus region.

Of course, the UN Security Council also issued four resolutions, calling for the separatists and Armenian government to withdraw from the occupied territories, but Armenia did not heed the resolutions. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) then formed the Minsk Group and consequently, this Group stalled and failed to do anything. Thus, with the testimony of history and even according to the UN Security Council [2], Nagorno-Karabakh is the territory of Azerbaijan and in the very beautiful interpretation of the leader of the Muslims of the world, Grand Ayatollah Khamenei, Nagorno-Karabakh is the land of Islam.

In recent months, with the escalation of conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, although Islamic Iran has officially announced a policy of maintaining and developing equal relations between the parties to the conflict, some international solutions to resolve the conflict in neighboring countries is not far-fetched.

Islamic Republic of Iran has cultural, religious and linguistic commonalities in this region and this region i.e. Nagorno-Karabakh is considered as a part of Iranian Islamic civilization. Therefore, by fulfilling some international activities, it can play an effective role in this issue. Accordingly, Friday prayers leaders in northwestern part of the country issued a statement and announced their wise and precise position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

This move is of paramount importance from some aspects:

1- Public Diplomacy: In recent years, due to the globalization and development of communications and information technology, the way of global communication has undergone significant changes. These changes in the international system have led governments to pay more attention to public diplomacy in order to achieve national foreign policy goals. One of the branches of public diplomacy is cultural diplomacy. That is, by using the commonalities, capacities and cultural capabilities that exist between several countries, it is possible to influence each other's public opinion. This is what four respected Friday prayers leaders and representatives of the Leader in the northwestern provinces of Islamic Iran did. The Friday prayers leaders emphasize on implementation of international resolutions of the UN Security Council.

2- Fulfilling Mission of Islamic Revolution of Iran: Representatives of the Leader in the northwest of the country issued this statement, based on support of the Infallible Imams and leaders of the Islamic Revolution with an international and global vision, and emphasized the territorial integrity of neighboring country and consequently, condemned any occupation of Muslim lands and oppression of Shiites of Azerbaijan.

3- Thwarting Conspiracies of Internal and External Enemies: By holding a meeting and issuing a joint statement and supporting the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, the Friday prayers leaders thwarted the seditionist conspiracy of internal and external enemies to incite ethnicity in Azeri-speaking regions of the Islamic Iran.

4- Removal of Charges from Islamic Iran: With the escalation of dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia, a large volume of psychological warfare and accusations were launched against the Islamic Republic of Iran by seditionist media outlets on the transit of weapons and ammunition to Armenia for use in the Karabakh war against Muslim and Shiite people of Azerbaijan. Statement issued by the representatives of the Leader in the northwestern provinces acquitted Iran of this charge.

5- Strengthening Unity, Amity and Brotherhood: The move taken by the respected Friday prayers leaders in this issue was of paramount importance in several ways which showed unity, amity and brotherhood and a symbol of Islamic unity. First, the spirit of this move indicates the unity and amity between Friday prayers leaders and people in northwestern provinces of the country. Secondly, this issue announced to the world the strong unity and amity between the two nations of Islamic Republic of Iran and Republic of Azerbaijan which has very positive effects for the two nations, so that the importance of unity and amity of Islamic Ummah in religious sources and the emphasis of the late founder of the Islamic Revolution Imam Khomeini (RA) and Leader is not covered to anyone.

MA/5052069

News Code 165107

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