IranMiddle East

Iranian Army Conducts Military Drills along Northwestern Borders

The Iranian Army Ground Force units staged a one-day drill along the country's Northwestern border regions on Sunday.

The military exercise, codenamed ‘Lovers of Velayat-99’, was held to display the country’s defense might and the readiness of the Armed Forces to counter any threat against the Islamic Republic’s security and integrity.

In this specialized tactical exercise, the first phase of which was held overnight, the infantry, engineering, UAV and artillery units supported the 164th Mobile Assault Brigade in achieving predetermined goals during the drill.

Maintaining and promoting mobility, responding quickly to threats, and increasing combat readiness and defense capabilities were among the objectives of the Lovers of Velayat-99.

With over four decades of arms embargo imposed against the country by the west, Iran has had no way but to stand on its own feet to build up its military arsenal. Today, Iran says over 80 percent of its defense equipment are indigenous.

Iran’s army says with its domestic air defense equipment, Iran’s skies are safer than ever. However, army commanders here say Iran will never initiate a war against any country and its military might serves only defensive purposes.

Commander of the Border Guards of the Islamic Republic of Iran Police Brigadier-General Ahmad Ali Goudarzi announced on Saturday tightened security measures at the Northwestern bordering areas of the country after several misfire incidents during the Karabakh war between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

“Ranger units, necessary equipment and electronic, optical, drone and reconnaissance systems have been strengthened in these areas,” General Goudarzi told FNA.

He said that at present sustainable security prevails at all bordering areas of Iran, describing the situation as “desirable and proper”.

General Goudarzi referred to several mortar rounds which have hit the Iranian bordering areas during the Karabakh war in the past few weeks, and said both Azerbaijan and Armenia were cautioned against repetition of such incidents and their border guards authorities were summoned and received notifications.

Earlier this week, Spokesman for the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi 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 on Friday, 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.

Last Wednesday, a rocket fired during clashes between the warring sides, Armenia and Azerbaijan, landed in a village house in the Northeastern bordering province of East Azarbaijan in Iran.

“A rocket fired during the Karabakh conflict between the Republic of Azerbaijan and Armenia hit a house in the village of Ozan of Manjavan district of the town of Khoda Afarin about 12:00 today,” Governor of Khoda Afarin Ali Amiri Raad said on Wednesday.

He added that the rocket damaged the house but did not leave any casualties, noting that the military and security forces are present on the scene to investigate the incident.

In another incident on Tuesday, a drone most likely belonging to the warring sides of Azerbaijan and Armenia crashed near a village in East Azarbaijan province in Northwestern Iran.

“The drone crashed this morning in national and grassland areas near the village of Qara Qouch in Manjavan district,” Amiri Raad said on Tuesday.

He added that the incident did not leave any damage or human casualty, and noted, “Military experts are investigating to find who owns the drone and the region it took off.”

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.

Last week, another drone had came down inside Northwestern Iranian territories along Iran’s borders with Azerbaijan as the war between Baku and Yerevan entered its seventeenth day.

The drone crashed while flying over a village in the border county of Pars Abad Moghan.

In addition to the drones, several rockets and mortar shells have also earlier landed inside Iran over the past few weeks, prompting Iran to formally warn the two warring sides against violating the Iranian border.

“Movements in the border areas of our country are being seriously and sensitively monitored by the Islamic Republic of Iran, and in this regard, while declaring any attack by any of the warring parties in the region on our country is intolerable, we seriously warn all parties to seriously take care in this regard,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Iran has called on Azerbaijan and Armenia to immediately cease the war and resolve their differences through dialogue, expressing readiness to facilitate such a dialogue.

“Iran is closely monitoring the alarming violence in Nagorno-Karabakh. We call for an immediate end to hostilities and urge dialogue to resolve differences. Our neighbors are our priority and we are ready to provide good offices to enable talks. Our region needs peace now,” tweeted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shortly after Armenia and Azerbaijan began the war.

Azerbaijan and Armenia engaged in heavy fighting over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region on Monday, with both countries ignoring a renewed truce that was meant to come into effect at the weekend.

The truce was agreed on Saturday after a similar deal brokered by Russia a week earlier failed to halt the worst fighting in the South Caucasus since the 1990s.

In both instances, Armenia and Azerbaijan accused one another of breaking the truce within hours of agreed deadlines.

The Iranian Army and Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) wrapped up joint aerial wargames codenamed ‘Modafe’an-e Aseman-e Velayat 99’ (Guardians of Velayat’s Sky-99) on Thursday.

The two-day joint aerial drills codenamed ‘Modafe’an-e Aseman-e Velayat 99’ (Guardians of Velayat’s Sky-99) wrapped up successfully on Thursday after displaying the state-of-the-art equipment and modern capacities of the Iranian Armed Forces in a vast expanse spreading in almost half of the country’s area, Lieutenant Commander of Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense Base Brigadier General Qader Rahimzadeh announced on Thursday.

The wargame, which was launched in a vast area on Wednesday succeeded to achieve all its predesigned objectives, Rahimzadeh said.

Using home-made defense equipment and systems was of great importance during the military maneuver, he said, adding, “All the equipment and systems used in this wargame (including reconnaissance, missile, radar, electronic warfare, etc.) have been produced by the skilled experts and elites of Armed Forces and defense industry of the country.”

“The wargame was the first of its kind that was launched with completely Iran-made defense systems,” the commander added.

“Since long-range threats have been turned into one of the main threats to the airspace, tackling these threats has been put on top of the agenda. The domestically made Bavar-373 defense missile system hit its long-range targets in a real wargame.”

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