Tehran, Iran (Oct 1) – Iran’s military has launched a large military drill near the country’s border with Azerbaijan, in a show of force amid tensions with its neighbouring country partly linked to the latter’s close ties with Israel.
On Friday, Oct 1, the state television showed footage of soldiers, helicopters, tanks and artillery, which are deployed in northwestern Iran precisely in an unspecified area.
The Iran army reported to said it was a testing on a locally manufactured long-range drone and their other “achievements”.
This Iran army drill happened after Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps deployed equipment and troops near the border area last month.
Probably some days after Azerbaijan, Turkey and Pakistan conducted a military drill in Baku.
Israel has been providing the Azeri army with high-tech assault drones and other equipment during its 44-day war with Armenian forces last year.
Iran arch-foe thought to have helped tip the balance in its favour. And Iran has openly said it is concerned about Azerbaijan’s close military ties with Isreal.
In the visit of Azerbaijan’s new envoy to Tehran on Thursday, the Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian warned that Iran “does not tolerate the presence and activities of the Zionist regime against its national security and will do whatever necessary in this regard”.
Kioumars Heydari, the commander of the Iranian army’s ground forces, told state TV that ” Iran is also concerned about the presence of fighters that Azerbaijan brought in during last year’s fighting over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.”
He added that “The Islamic Republic of Iran has never started any invasion. But when there was war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, a considerable number of ISIS terrorists were called to the area,” he said, referring to the armed group also known as ISIL.
“We’re really not sure they’ve left the area. But they must leave the area.”
Again, this week, in an interview with Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said that he was surprised by the planned military exercise.
Every country can carry out any military drill on its own territory. It’s their sovereign right. But why now, and why on our border?”
he added that since the fall of the Soviet Union, this would be the first time that Iran is making such a show of force so close to the border.
Last month, the Tensions goes up after Azerbaijan imposed a “road tax” on Iranian trucks moving through the Karabakh region, and detained two Iranian lorry drivers.
Which reduce the number of Iranian trucks moving cargo to Armenia down to zero.