October 3, 2021
TEHRAN – Iran’s top security official reiterated on Saturday that the Islamic Republic’s “benevolent” relationship with its neighbors, calling on them to remain vigilant in the face of “fruitless foreign influence” and settle issues through cooperation.
“Powerful Iran has always been benevolent to its neighbors and never posed a threat to them,” Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), wrote on his Twitter account.
He added that regional countries can resolve problems through collective cooperation.
“Any foreign influence is fruitless so we call on neighbors to be vigilant in this regard & to stay away from them,” Shamkhani tweeted, according to Press TV.
Iran is holding military drills in the country’s northwestern border area, which was criticized by Azerbaijan. The military exercises started on Friday.
President Ilham 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.
Aliev had also accused Iran of sending over trucks to “illegally” cross into the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is a matter of dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Iran’s Armed Forces regularly hold military maneuvers to increase their preparedness and military prowess. The drills serve as a warning message to the enemies against any act of aggression against the Islamic Republic.
Tehran has been suspicious of Azerbaijan’s links to the Israeli regime, whose supply of drones and other weapons helped Baku gain the upper hand in the war with Armenia last year. The war started September 27, 2020 and ended on November 10. The Republic of Azerbaijan was the initiator of the war.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Thursday that Tehran will not tolerate Israel’s presence near the country’s borders and will take due measures against the regime’s activities.
Stressing that countries had the right to hold military exercises within their territories in line with safeguarding their national sovereignty, the Iranian foreign minister said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran does not tolerate the presence and activities of the Zionist regime against its national security and will take any necessary action in this regard.”
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) initially flew over the zone, conducted a surveillance and transmitted aerial photographs of the area to the command center, before the 25th Rapid Reaction Brigade and the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) helicopters carried out a mock air assault.
Army artillery units then fired a series of rounds at designated targets, and subsequently armored units carried out strike force operations.
On Sunday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said interference of foreigners in the region is a “source of discord,” calling on the regional states to follow the example of Iran for power and rationality.
“The interference of foreigners in the region is a source of discord and damage. All issues and incidents must be resolved without foreign interference and the countries of the region should follow the example of Iran and the armed forces of the Islamic Republic for power and rationality,” the Leader said.
Ayatollah Khamenei said, “The events that are taking place in the northwest of Iran in some neighboring countries should be resolved with the same logic of avoiding giving permission to the presence of foreigners.”
The Leader went on to say “everyone should know that whoever digs a pit for his brothers shall fall therein first.”
On Saturday, Brigadier General Kiomars Heydari, commander of the Army Ground Force, also said, “The exercises of our armed forces in this region and other regions are based on detailed planning with the aim of testing weapons and equipment and assessing the combat readiness of the armed forces in every part of the borders of Iran. The timing of the exercises, the location of the exercises and the size of the forces is decided by the armed forces,” he explained.
Heydari added in this northern region there is an “uninvited and disruptive element of security” that has come from elsewhere, and that is the “illegitimate Zionist regime”.
“Since this regime came (to this region), our sensitivity to this border area has increased; their activities here are completely under our monitoring,” the commander underscored.
He added that apart from these issues, the exit of terrorist forces that have come to this region from Syria has not yet been proven to Iran.
“Iran is sensitive in this regard,” he asserted.
General Heydari went on to say that Iran is completely “sensitive” to changes in the official borders of countries in the South Caucasus region and consider it completely “unacceptable”.