“We demand the conflicting sides in Karabakh that the Takfiris should not enter this region at all. Presence of Takfiri terrorists is unbearable to Iran and certainly, the Islamic Republic will not tolerate this presence at all,” General Shekarchi said in an interview with Persian-language Mizan news agency on Saturday.
He also cautioned about the presence of Israeli spy bases in the region, and said, “We do not at all allow the regime’s bases to be set up near our borders and in the disputed and conflicted region.”
General Abolfazl Shekarchi
General Shekarchi warned that any country which does not meet the two demands should account for its consequences, adding, “The Islamic Republic will firmly confront these two ominous phenomena.”
General Shekarchi had also last month warned Armenia and the Azerbaijan Republic to avoid crossing Iran’s red lines, stressing that their dispute can be resolved through dialogue.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran, while reinforcing the defensive measures at border areas, stresses that the security of border areas and Iranian people is the country’s red line,” Shekarchi said, adding that a number of shells have hit the Iranian territory following the military conflict between the Caucasian states.
He urged Yerevan and Baku to settle their issues through political means, be alert against external interference, and not violate Iran’s territorial integrity.
The new escalation began on September 27 after Armenian separatists — who have been seeking to break the region away from Azerbaijan for around three decades — opened fire on Azeri soldiers. More than 1,000 people, including more than a 100 civilians, have reportedly died in the violence.
The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up, but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic.
The fighting has been rated the worst to plague Nagorno-Karabakh since 1992, when Armenians invaded the region and forced Azeris into a retreat.
A number of stray shells and projectiles have crossed the Iranian border, prompting stern warnings from Tehran.
The Ground Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has deployed a mechanized brigade to protect the country’s Northwestern border amid the ongoing clashes between the two former Soviet republics.