IRGC deployed in northwestern borders amid Armenia-Azerbaijan clashes

October 26, 2020 - 12:5

TEHRAN – The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has deployed forces to northwestern areas of the country in order to protect common borders amid the ongoing military conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Sepahnews reported on Sunday that IRGC tanks and military equipment were stationed in cities of Jolfa and Khoda Afarin in the northwestern province of Azarbaijan, which have joint borders both with the Republic of Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Since September 27, Armenian separatists in Azerbaijan’s breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh have been engaged in intense clashes against Azeri forces.

The clashes have so far killed over 1,000 people, most of whom Azeri. The flare-up has been the worst violence to break out between the two sides since 1992, when the separatists invaded the region, forcing the Azeri side into a retreat.

Two rounds of truce talks have so far failed to calm the situation that took a turn for the worse earlier on Sunday.

A number of stray shells and projectiles have crossed the Iranian border, prompting stern warnings from Tehran.

Commander of the IRGC Ground Force Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour on Friday visited the border regions near Khoda-Afarin County in the Province of East Azarbaijan, after several rockets fell on Iranian villages and farms there.

“Although a number of shells fired in the Karabakh dispute have hit the Iranian soil, security prevails along the borders and there is no threat to the country,” Pakpour said, according to Tasnim.

Last week, Iran’s Foreign Ministry warned the warring sides that Tehran will not remain indifferent if the shells fired in the fighting continue to hit Iranian territories.

On Wednesday, Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Tehran appreciated Iran's support for his country, underlining that Iran’s efforts to establish peace in the Nagorno-Karabakh region should be highlighted.

“We appreciate the position of the Islamic Republic of Iran in support of the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the liberation of the occupied territories,” Bunyad Huseynov said in an interview with the Iran Daily.

Huseynov added, “Over the past few days, the Leader's international relations adviser, some members of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, the Leader's representatives in the northwestern provinces of Iran, the governors, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, the government spokesman, all of them, have supported the positions of the Republic of Azerbaijan. This was also covered in our media. The government of the Republic of Azerbaijan appreciates these rightful positions of Iran.”

The ambassador said Iran’s request to establish peace in Nagorno-Karabakh has been discussed during the phone conversations that were held between the presidents and foreign ministers of Iran and Azerbaijan, and the Azerbaijani side has officially announced that the role of the regional countries in establishing peace and mediating should be highlighted.

Army Ground Force conducts drills in northwest with ‘offensive’ focus

Meanwhile, the Iranian Army Ground Force has conducted a set of tactical drills in the country’s general northwestern area, using the opportunity to field its optimized new “offensive” brigades.

The Army’s Public Relations Office released a statement on Sunday reporting successful conclusion of the exercise code-named Asheqan-e Velayat 99, Press TV reported.

It said the drills fielded the force’s offensive mobile brigades that have been developed from former mechanized infantry brigades under the ground force’s “new structure”.

During the exercise, the involved units that operate as part of the ground force’s 164 Offensive Brigade, which is based in the city of Piranshar in West Azarbaijan Province, drilled nighttime and daytime raids “to display the [forces’] power, combat-readiness, and enhanced mobility.”

The exercise was also intended to enhance the ground force’s preparedness for rapid deployment and confrontation against potential sources of threat, the Army said.

The statement said the mobile brigade was being backed up during the exercise by infantry and artillery units as well as the engineers’ corps and drone squadron.

‘Profound changes’

Speaking on the sidelines of the drills, Ground Force Commander Kioumars Heydari, said the Ground Force’s units had undergone “profound changes” upon the instruction of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“This means that they have turned into a mobile offensive and rapid response force,” Brigadier General Heydari added.

Heydari said the ground force had managed to “institutionalize” self-sufficiency in various aspects, and was prepared to successfully confront any potential aggressor “within a fraction of time.”

Heydari hailed that his forces had managed to “institutionalize” within itself a quest for self-sufficiency in various aspects, and was prepared to successfully confront any potential aggressor “within a fraction of time.”

MH/PA

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