Tuesday, November 22, 2022

  Iran Responds to Azerbaijani Exercises and Charges by Expanding Revolutionary Guards’ Presence in North

 Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 21 – Last month, following Azerbaijan’s arrest of people it charged with being Iranian agents and discussions about the future of the Syunik/Zengezur corridor, Tehran moved units of its revolutionary guards to the north supposedly for an exercise. That prompted Azerbaijan to respond with an exercise of its own (jamestown.org/program/moscow-opens-the-way-for-iran-to-increase-its-influence-in-the-caucasus/).

            Now, in what has become a tit-for-tat escalation, Tehran says it is expanding the number of revolutionary guards in the northern portion of the country, an area populated by Azeri Turks and known in Baku as Southern Azerbaijan (realtribune.ru/ksir-uvelichivaet-prisutstvie-v-provincii-zapadnyj-azerbajdzhan).

            While this does not necessarily presage a military clash between the two countries, it has raised the temperature on both sides of the border with demonstrators in Baku denouncing Iran’s moves (kavkaz-uzel.eu/photo_albums/4809), a development that will complicate efforts to boost economic ties and prevent provocations.

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