Iran Backs Stability in Uzbekistan, FM Says

Iran Backs Stability in Uzbekistan, FM Says

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Voicing Iran’s support for security and stability in Uzbekistan, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian denounced as unacceptable any move harming the Central Asian nation’s unity.

The top Iranian diplomat held a telephone conversation with Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Vladimir Imamovich Norov on Tuesday, following the recent unrest in Uzbekistan’s Karakalpakstan autonomous region.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran supports stability and security in Uzbekistan and would not accept insecurity and harm to its unity,” Amirabdollahian stated.

Hailing the growing relations between Tehran and Tashkent, he said the speaker of the Iranian Parliament will pay a visit to Uzbekistan in the near future.

For his part, Norov praised Iran for its stances on the recent developments in Uzbekistan and for supporting unity of his country.

He added that Uzbekistan has started the process of reform of the constitution, as President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has talked about the process with the Uzbek people.

Norov finally hailed the positive course of mutual, regional and international cooperation between Uzbekistan and Iran.

Protests in the autonomous Karakalpakstan region turned deadly last week, according to the government, as Uzbek President Mirziyoyev faced growing calls to allow an independent investigation into the violence.

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets on Friday in opposition to proposed constitutional reforms that would have refused the province, which borders Kazakhstan and the Aral Sea, the right to secede.

Uzbek authorities said on Monday that 18 people were killed and 243 were wounded during the protests. The national guard said 516 people were detained but have since been released.

Mirziyoyev, who took office in 2016, has said there were “civilians and law enforcement officers” among the dead.

The government has said protesters marched through the provincial capital of Nukus on Friday. They accused protesters of throwing stones, starting fires and attacking police, as well as trying to storm local government buildings.

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