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Iran top security official urges neighbors to be vigilant in face of 'foreign influence'

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani

Iran’s top security official has reiterated the Islamic Republic’s "benevolent" relationship with its neighboring countries, 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 & never posed a threat to them,” Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said in a tweet on Saturday.

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.

Iran recently held military drills in the country’s northwestern border area, which was criticized by Azerbaijan. 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 elevate 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.

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.”

The Islamic Republic of Iran Army Ground Forces on Friday started a military exercise, codenamed Fatehan-e Khaybar (Conquerors of Khaybar), in the northwestern part of the country, attended by armored, artillery, drone, and electronic warfare units under air cover provided by helicopter gunships.

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