Iran's ambassador to Baku has said that the shared border between Iran and Azerbaijan will ever remain the border of friendship, peace, and security amidst the ongoing armed clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the territories of Azerbaijan including the areas near the border with Iran.
“Flag of Iran and flag of Azerbaijan will ever remain in the 760-km shared border of friendship, peace and security for the people of the two neighbors without presence and interference of ill-wishers. Iranians are happy with the happiness of their Muslim brothers and sisters of Azerbaijan” Seyyed Abbas Mousavi, Iran's ambassador to Baku, former spokesman of the Iranian foreign ministry, wrote in a tweet on October 23, addressing Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.
A day before, President Aliyev announced about the liberation of 21 villages from the Armenian occupation, including areas in Azerbaijan’s Zangilan and Jabrayil districts on the border with Iran along the Araz River.
“The state border between Azerbaijan and the Islamic Republic of Iran has been completely secured through liberation of the Agbend settlement [in Zangilan]. I congratulate the peoples of Azerbaijan and Iran on this occasion,” the president wrote in his official Twitter account.
Meanwhile, on October 25, the Telegram channel Sepahcybery shared a video of the deployment of Iranian artillery and armoured vehicles near the Khoda Aferin and Jolfa areas near the Azerbaijani border.
An Iranian military official said in the video that the ground forces of the IRGC's Imam Zaman brigade have been deployed to these areas in order to protect the populations of Iran's border areas from the misfire during the ongoing military conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Earlier, a missile fell on the farmlands of Aqa-Alilou village in Heris County, Iran’s northwestern province of East Azerbaijan. A drone crashed in the farmlands of the border County of Parsabad, in Iran's Ardabil Province. Several houses located in Iran's northwestern border areas have been also damaged during the artillery shelling.
A new round of clashes erupted between the Armenian and Azerbaijani forces on September 27 with Armenia’s troops shelling heavily the military positions and civilian settlements of Azerbaijan. The attack prompted immediate counter-attack measures by the Azerbaijani army. Military operations are being conducted in the territory of Azerbaijan, marking the fighting most intense between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces since a ceasefire that was reached in 1994.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a decades-old conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is the internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan but occupied by Armenia. Following the Soviet Union’s dissolution in 1991, Armenia launched a military campaign against Azerbaijan that lasted until a ceasefire deal was reached in 1994. Armenia occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territories including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. One million ethnic Azerbaijanis were forcibly displaced from these areas.
On October 23, spokesman for the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi warned Armenia and Azerbaijan against artillery shelling on country’s border regions during the ongoing military conflict.
“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, and urged Yerevan and Baku to settle their issues through political means, be alert against external interference, and not violate Iran’s territorial integrity.
The foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia have recently met separately with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on October 23. The foreign ministers of the two countries have already held meetings twice with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Russia has brokered two cease-fires since October 10, but neither has held. Both the US and Russia are co-chairing countries of the OSCE Minsk Group along with France.
The Minsk Group is the primary structure tasked with mediating negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The shuttle diplomacy of the co-chairmen failed to reach political solution to the decades-old conflict. Authorities in Baku accuse the Minsk Group diplomats of lacking adequate response to Armenia’s illegal occupation of Azerbaijani lands.
Although the United Nations Security Council adopted four resolutions demanding the immediate withdrawal of the occupying forces from Azerbaijani lands and the return of internally displaced Azerbaijanis to their ancestral lands, Armenia has failed to comply with all four legally binding documents.