The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has begun deploying forces to the northwestern borders in view of the escalation of conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh which is close to the Iranian territory. The move came after some mortar shells hit the Iranian border cities. On 6th November, Iran moved its armoured equipment to Jolfa and Khodaafarin from the Qazvin province which hosts the 16th Armored Division equipped with Mobarez Tanks (domestically upgraded version of the British FV4201 Chieftain tank ) and Tosan (derivative of FV101 Scorpion light-tanks). Earlier on October 29, IRNA had reported shifting of armour to Khoda Afarin county and Jolfa.
In addition to the armour, the images from IRNA news agency shows the transportation of Armored Vehicle-Launched Bridge (AVLB), Armoured Personnel Carrier (possibly M113 APC) and multiple launch rocket systems (possibly Hadid HM 20 122 mm 40 rounds MLRS).
Iran appears to be ready to apply its military forces if the situation escalates. On November 5th, the Commander of Ground Forces of the Iranian Army Brigadier-General Kiumars Heidari said Iran will not accept changing geopolitical situation of the region. “Preserving geopolitical situation of the region is a red line and no power must think of any change,” he said.
On October 25th, the Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Ground Force Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour said that any insecurity and menace in borders will be faced by reciprocal measure.
Meanwhile, Iran is also actively trying to find a diplomatic solution for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has already announced a plan drawn up by Tehran to make a permanent halt to the dispute and his deputy, Abbas Araghchi, tasked to follow up on it. So far the Iranian deputy foreign minister has visited Baku, Moscow, Yerevan and Turkey drumming up support for the plan.
Iran is also critical of the OSCE Minsk Group led negotiations over Nagorno-Karabakh. (Azerbaijan and Armenia ceasefire agreement over Nagorno-Karabakh) As per Araghchi, the US and France are kilometres far from the region, so they cannot play an effective role. The “ineffectiveness of the Group has proved after three decades of conflict which has not been halted yet,” he said.