Under the name “Fatih Khyber”, the Iranian army launched, on Friday, October 1, 2021, military maneuvers on the border with Azerbaijan in the northwest of the country, amid tension in relations between the two sides against the background of this step.
On Thursday, the commander of the Iranian ground forces, Kiomars Haidari, announced their intention to conduct these maneuvers, according to Iranian television.
Haidari said that the “Fateh Khyber” maneuvers will be launched in the northwest region of the country, with the participation of armored units, artillery, drones and electronic warfare units, with the fire support of army helicopters.
“Enhancing combat readiness”
Haidari indicated that the maneuvers aim to enhance the combat readiness of the military units in this region, pointing out that two anti-armor and some other weapons produced by his country will be tested in the maneuvers.
While Heydari stated: “Iran is sensitive to changing the official borders of the countries of this region and considers this unacceptable. Legal borders must be protected. The weakness of a country in protecting its borders does not justify another country changing its borders with the support of foreigners. Iran will not allow such a thing.”
While the commander of the Iranian ground forces did not specify the date of the end of the maneuvers.
Meanwhile, local Iranian media circulated scenes showing the positioning of hundreds of armored vehicles and thousands of soldiers in the maneuvers area.
While the Iranian artillery unit, during the maneuvers, fired at predetermined locations and targets, the armored units carried out the Armored Strike Force operation.
Commemoration of the Battle of Karabakh
The holding of these maneuvers comes in the wake of statements by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, in which he criticized Iran’s conduct of military maneuvers on his country’s borders, coinciding with the commemoration of the second “Karabakh” battle, which he considered a “very surprising event.”
Last Monday, Aliyev said: “Every country can conduct military exercises on its territory, it is its sovereign right, but looking at the timing, we see that it is not an ordinary time, why now and on our borders in particular?”
For his part, Iranian Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian criticized Aliyev’s statements, stressing that they were “surprising and unfortunate,” stressing that Tehran “does not tolerate the movement or activities of the Zionist entity against its national security, and will take any necessary step in this regard.” Military cooperation between Azerbaijan and Israel.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said, in a statement, on Tuesday, that Aliyev’s statements were surprising, especially as they came at a time when good and respectful relations prevail between the two countries, stressing that “conducting military exercises is a sovereign decision, and it will not tolerate the presence of The Zionist entity is on our borders.
It is noteworthy that on September 27, 2020, the Azerbaijani army launched an operation to liberate its occupied lands in the Karabakh region, after an attack by the Armenian army on civilian populated areas.
After fierce battles that lasted 44 days, Russia announced on November 10, 2020, that Azerbaijan and Armenia reached a ceasefire agreement, providing for Baku to regain control of the occupied provinces.
It is worth noting that Iran and its northwestern neighbor Azerbaijan share a border stretching nearly 700 km.