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Iran air defenses bolstered near NW border amid Karabakh war: Army chief

The chief commander of Iran’s Army has said the Islamic Republic has bolstered its air defenses near the northwestern frontier amid ongoing clashes over the disputed Nangorno-Karabakh region.

Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi, who also commands Iran’s Air Defense Headquarters, made the remark on Tuesday as fighting continued between Azeri and Armenian forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh region despite three attempts to establish a ceasefire.

“Daesh Takfiri terrorists and the Zionists are outcast elements around the world and their presence in every place will cause insecurity and hatred,” Mousavi said.

He added that Iran’s Army has strengthened the Air Defense units in the country’s northwest and may even deploy more forces to the region if necessary in order to preserve peace for residents of the border areas.

“Respecting the territorial integrity of countries and protecting the official international borders are [among] our recognized principles, the Army commander said. “We will not tolerate any change in them [borders] and have been and are opposed to it.”

Mousavi gave orders to the air defense units of the Army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) to boost their preparedness in the volatile region.

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 more than 1,000 people, including civilians. The flare-up has been the worst violence to break out since 1992, when the separatists invaded the region, forcing the Azeri side into a retreat.

The clashes come even though Baku and Yerevan announced they would begin a third US-mediated attempt to establish a lasting ceasefire on Monday, after four weeks of fighting. Two earlier Russia-brokered ceasefire agreements collapsed immediately after taking effect, with both sides accusing each other of violations.

A number of stray shells and projectiles have crossed the Iranian border, causing material damage in a number of villages.

According to a Sunday report by Sepah News outlet, the IRGC Ground Forces has deployed a mechanized brigade to protect the northwestern border.

Commander of the IRGC’s Ground Force Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour said on Sunday that Iran’s national interests and the security of its people are red lines for the IRGC.

He added, “We will take a reciprocal measure vis-à-vis any incidence of insecurity and threat along our borders, which endangers our dear people’s security and peace of mind.”

Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami has previously warned that Tehran will go beyond mere warnings if the shells continue to hit the Iranian border regions even by mistake.

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