Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has deployed military units in the northwestern border area near Azerbaijan and Armenia as tensions rise in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, the official Iranian news agency reported.
“IRGC tanks and military equipment have been stationed in cities of Jolfa and Khoda Afarin in the northwestern province of Azarbaijan … to ensure safety of people and security of borders,” the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) said, citing the revolutionary guards’ website Sephanews.
IRNA also quoted IRGC commander Mohammad Pakpour as saying that people’s security and national interests are the most important red lines for Iran. He added that any violation of these will be met with reciprocal measures.
Relations between the two former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognised territory of Azerbaijan.
About 20 per cent of Azerbaijan’s territory has remained under illegal Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.
In late September, Azerbaijan declared a state of war in some of its cities and regions following attacks by Armenian forces on military and civilian sites.