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IRGC deploys mechanized brigade to NW border amid Azeri-Armenian conflict

The Ground Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has deployed a mechanized brigade to protect the country’s northwestern border amid ongoing firefight between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The Corps’ Sepah News outlet reported the deployment on Sunday. It specified the dispatched force as the Ground Force’s Emam-e Zaman Mechanized Brigade comprising tanks and other military equipment.

The location of the deployment was identified as the areas running alongside the border in the Khoda Afarin and Jolfa Counties.

The precaution has been taken towards “preservation of the northwestern borders’ security,” according to the report.

An IRGC member said the brigade has been tasked with “defending the country’s territorial integrity” and the people residing in those areas.

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, including civilians, most of whom belong to the Azeri side. The flare-up has been the worst violence to break out between the two sides since 1992, when the separatists invaded the region, forcing the Azeri side into a retreat.

Two rounds of truce talks have so far failed to calm the situation that took a turn for the worse earlier on Sunday.

A number of stray shells and projectiles have crossed the Iranian border, prompting stern warnings from Tehran.

Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami put the warring sides on notice early this month, saying Tehran would respond beyond only warnings if the security of Iran’s border regions were endangered.c

Speaking in an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev, however, reassured Iran that his country had completely “cleaned” the border area.

“There will be no more inconvenience for our brothers across river of Araz (Aras) in Iran,” he added.

IRGC Ground Force Commander, Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour, also visited the border area on Saturday. He said even though some of the projectiles had landed on the Iranian soil during the firefight, “security prevails over [our] borders, and no danger threatens the country.”

The Islamic Republic has strongly advised both Azerbaijan and Armenia to refrain from seeking any military solution to the conflict and resume negotiations. Tehran has also offered to provide diplomatic intervention if a request was ever made.

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