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Tuesday, July 5, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Azerbaijan commander killed in border clash
with Iranian forces

MOSCOW — For the first time in years, Iran and its northern neighbor have engaged in a military confrontation.


Azerbaijan, regarded as close to Israel and the United States, reported a clash with Iranian security forces along their border on late July 3. Officials said an Azeri border commander was killed in the Yardimli region.

"As a result, the leader of a border squad, Lt. Rufat Guliyev, was severely wounded and died while being taken to the border post," an Azeri security spokesman said on July 4.

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This marked the first reported armed clash between Azerbaijan and Iran in years. The two countries have long maintained strained relations amid accusations that Iran was discriminating against its large Azeri minority.

Iran has tense borders with other countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. Over the last two years, Iran has been cooperating with Turkey to block Kurdish insurgents from operations.

The Azeri statement said armed fighters attacked the Azeri border from Iran. The statement said Azeri authorities were investigating the shooting.

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