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Iranian MPs back latest military drills, slam border movements as Iran’s ‘red line’

Iranian lawmakers have issued a statement in support of military exercises in northwestern Iran to warn against the Israeli regime’s presence on Azerbaijan’s soil, saying movements at Iran’s borders with its neighbors is a “red line” for the Islamic Republic.

“Any geopolitical developments in the region and movements at the borders with neighboring countries is a red line for the holy establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” read a Sunday statement signed by 165—out of 290—Iranian lawmakers.

They said the drills at the Aras border carry a message of “peace and strength” to the neighbors, and, at the same time, should be read as a “warning” to the Zionist regime.

The Iranian Army’s Ground Forces on Friday started military exercises codenamed Fatehan-e Khaybar (Conquerors of Khaybar) in the northwestern part of the country, attended by armored, artillery, drone, and electronic warfare units under air cover provided by helicopter gunships.

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has criticized the exercises. Tehran has hit back by saying that holding drills was part of the national sovereignty, warning that Israel’s anti-Iran activities in neighboring countries will not be tolerated.

In their statement, the Iranian lawmakers said they fully support the Fatehan-e Khaybar drills and called on the Iranian Foreign Ministry to convey the parliamentarians’ message to the state actors in the Caucasus. Iran will not tolerate the turning of any neighboring country’s soil into a hub for the Israeli regime’s movements, they stated.

While hailing Iran’s historic relations with neighboring states and nations, including Azerbaijan as a Muslim-majority nation and brotherly country, the lawmakers said such ties are stable and will not be broken by the illegitimate regime of Israel.

“The Islamic Iran has repeatedly proved its brotherhood and good neighborliness to neighboring countries, including the Republic of Azerbaijan.”

“Certain divisive and seditionist statements are contrary to good neighborliness, and the Azeri government is expected to confront any act of that nature and counter divisive behavior,” the statement read.

President Aliev said he was “very surprised” by Iran’s decision to hold drills close to his country’s borders, and questioned the timing of the maneuvers. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh dismissed any attempt on the part of Iran to undermine the territorial integrity of others or trespass on their recognized borders.

Iran’s Armed Forces regularly hold military maneuvers to elevate their preparedness and military prowess. The drills serve as a warning message to the enemies against any act of aggression against the Islamic Republic.

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