Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Ground Force commander visited border regions in the northwest near Armenia and Azerbaijan where tensions between the two Transcaucasian countries have spiked.
Brigadier-General Mohammad Pakpour visited an area under control of IRGC’s Ashura camp located around the common borders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, where a resumption of military conflict is feared. The two countries fought a war in 2020 over disputed territories and Yerevan has accused Baku of recent border incursions.
Although the Islamic Republic says it is neutral in the conflict but it has warned it would not tolerate changes to international borders.
Iranian media have reported in recent weeks that Azerbaijan is preparing for a potential attack on Armenia, without elaborating on the details. Earlier in the week, Aftab News, a website believed to be close to former President Hassan Rouhani and the Moderation and Development Party, quoted Baku’s Ambassador to Iran Ali Alizada as criticizing “smuggling of military supplies into Khankendi by Armenian separatists.” The area is called Stepanakert in Armenia. “Time to act,” he urged.
Earlier in the month, Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan summoned the Iranian ambassador in Baku to protest the flight of an Iranian warplane on the border of the two countries. Ambassador Abbas Mousavi was told that the warplane continuously flew near the Azerbaijani border for more than 40 minutes at a distance of 3-5 kilometers on March 11.
After a gunman assaulted Azerbaijan’s embassy in capital Tehran, Baku says it is evacuating staff and family members from the country. The incident came amid increased tensions between the neighboring countries triggered by territorial conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia and Yerevan as well as over Baku's decision this month to appoint its first ever ambassador to Israel.
Iran is dangerously implicated in regional tensions centered on Azerbaijan-Armenia that are exacerbated by fall-out from Russia’s war in Ukraine.