“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 on Friday, adding that a number of shells have hit the Iranian territory following the military conflict between the Caucasian states.
He urged Yerevan and Baku to settle their issues through political means, be alert against external interference, and not violate Iran’s territorial integrity.
He reiterated that Iran's good neighborliness and patience towards the two countries should not be abused, Shekarchi warned both sides that any aggression against Iranian territory will be receive strong response.
In a relevant event on October 20, a drone most likely belonging to the warring sides of Azerbaijan and Armenia crashed near a village in East Azarbaijan province in Northwestern Iran.
“The drone crashed this morning in national and grassland areas near the village of Qara Qouch in Manjavan district,” Governor of Khoda Afarin region in East Azarbaijan province Ali Amiri Raad told the Islamic republic news agency on Tuesday.
He added that the incident did not leave any damage or human casualty, and noted, “Military experts are investigating to find who owns the drone and the region it took off.”
The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up, but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic.
On October 13, another drone had come down inside Northwestern Iranian territories along Iran’s borders with Azerbaijan as the war between Baku and Yerevan entered its seventeenth day.
The drone crashed while flying over a village in the border county of Pars Abad Moghan.
In addition to the drones, several rockets and mortar shells have also landed inside Iran over the past few weeks, prompting Iran to formally warn the two warring sides against violating the Iranian border.
“Movements in the border areas of our country are being seriously and sensitively monitored by the Islamic Republic of Iran, and in this regard, while declaring any attack by any of the warring parties in the region on our country is intolerable, we seriously warn all parties to seriously take care in this regard,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Iran has called on Azerbaijan and Armenia to immediately cease the war and resolve their differences through dialogue, expressing readiness to facilitate such a dialogue.
“Iran is closely monitoring the alarming violence in Nagorno-Karabakh. We call for an immediate end to hostilities and urge dialogue to resolve differences. Our neighbors are our priority and we are ready to provide good offices to enable talks. Our region needs peace now,” tweeted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shortly after Armenia and Azerbaijan began the war.
Azerbaijan and Armenia engaged in heavy fighting over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region on Monday, with both countries ignoring a renewed truce that was meant to come into effect at the weekend.
The truce was agreed on Saturday October 17 after a similar deal brokered by Russia a week earlier failed to halt the worst fighting in the South Caucasus since the 1990s.
In both instances, Armenia and Azerbaijan accused one another of breaking the truce within hours of agreed deadlines.
On Monday October 19, ethnic Armenian officials in Nagorno-Karabakh said Azeri forces were shelling their positions in Northern and Southern areas of the line of contact that divides them.
They recorded another 19 casualties among their troops, pushing the military death toll to 729 since fighting with Azeri forces erupted on September 27; 36 ethnic Armenian civilians have died.
Azerbaijan does not disclose its military casualties; 60 Azeri civilians had so far died.
The Azeri Defense Ministry said Armenian forces had shelled its positions in the Garanboy, Terter and Aghdam regions of Azerbaijan overnight and said the Agjebedin region was being shelled on Monday morning.
The reports could not immediately be verified.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev accused Armenian forces of violating the truce, and said in a Twitter post there were “dead and wounded due to these heinous actions”.
More than 1,000 people have been killed since fighting began on September 27, including hundreds of soldiers and dozens of civilians.
Karabakh is inside Azerbaijan but has been controlled by Armenia-backed troops for more than 25 years.