Mohsen Rezaei says an active Iranian foreign diplomacy could guarantee a significant breakthrough in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement, Press TV reported.
"Iranian foreign policy in the region must be strengthened. If so it could ward off regional disputes and ongoing wrangling," the Iranian presidential hopeful said in a campaign speech on Saturday in Tabriz -- the provincial capital city of Iran's East Azarbaijan province.
He said given Iran's historical sphere of influence and current capabilities, it should have been able to prevent the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the resultant Armenian occupation of the small ethnic enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in southwestern Azerbaijan.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan lost all of Nagorno-Karabakh except for Shusha and Khojali in December 1991. In 1992-93, Armenian armed forces occupied Shusha, Khojali and 7 districts surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Rezaei said that if elected president, he will promote a diplomacy rooted in peace and amicability vis-à-vis regional crises and seek to bridge divisions among regional states so that they will pin their hopes on Tehran as a mediator rather than Washington.