Amid heightened tensions arising in the mountainous Caucasus region between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Iran has picked to fight on the former’s side and has reportedly deployed 200 heavy armour tanks to Yerevan.
In what is the deadliest conflict for more than 25 years in the South Caucasus region lying between Asia and Europe, the two Soviet republics entered the ninth consecutive day of fighting, with both accusing each other of attacking civilian areas.
So far, hundreds of people have been massacred in the most recent flare-up of war over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountain enclave that has a place with Azerbaijan under global law however is populated and represented by ethnic Armenians.
And Now, Iran which shares a 765-kilometer border with Azerbaijan has come to the aid of Armenia, according to reports in Tehran-based local news hubs.
According to unconfirmed reports in the Iranian media, the Persian country under the helm of President Hassan Rouhani has sent 200 heavy armoured tanks in a bid to protect its borders. However, according to military experts, the deployment of tanks in such a large number signals that Tehran could be lending a helping hand to Armenia.
Experts believe the tanks are not just meant for safeguarding the borders and territorial integrity of Iran, but for deployment in Yerevan on the call of the Armenian government in power.
While there has been no official confirmation on the matter and there are no ways to verify the reports, the developments are in sync with what the Iranian Foreign Ministry had to say recently.
Both Armenia and Azerbaijan entangled in the battle over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, many rockets and mortar shells ended up landing inside Iranian territories on its border, forcing Iranian Foreign Ministry to issue a warning.
“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.” said the Ministry.
While mortal shells and rockets did not cause any casualties inside Iranian territory, according to images and videos doing rounds on social media platforms, the projectiles have indeed damaged houses and farms located in the region.
Earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had called for both nations to cease the conflict and resolve the disputes through dialogue. In a tweet, he had said,
“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 neighbours are our priority and we are ready to provide good offices to enable talks. Our region needs peace now.”
On September 27, Azerbaijan and Armenia engaged in clashes over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, which led to the killing of dozens of troops on both sides.
While both nations are using artillery and mortar shells, Azerbaijan has been using advanced combat drones to target Armenian positions without being intercepted.
For long, Iran has remained neutral and publicly stated that it has no intentions to participate in the war, there are reports that Tehran could be providing military equipment and hundreds of armed fighting vehicles to Armenia and change the balance of power in the region.
*The EurAsian Times cannot independently verify this claim*