Former President Abulfaz Elchibey, leader of the opposition Popular Front, called on Azeris in northern Iran to launch a “struggle of national liberation” to secede and annex their province to Azerbaijan. He linked his call to an attempt in 1945-1947–widely regarded as Moscow-inspired–to attach the Azeri-inhabited regions of Iran to the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. While stirring up nationalist emotions against Iran, Elchibey denounced Armenian claims to Karabakh and the possibility that President Haidar Aliev, who has been meeting privately with Armenian President Robert Kocharian, may be negotiating a settlement of this ancient dispute. ________________________________________________________________________________

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