Iran says soldier shot dead by Azeri border guard

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Thu, 20 Oct 2011 16:05 GMT
Author: Reuters
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TEHRAN, Oct 20 (Reuters) - An Iranian soldier was shot dead when he strayed across the border into Azerbaijan, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported on Thursday.

"An unarmed Ardebil province border guard entered Azerbaijani territory by mistake was martyred by that country's border guards," Mehr quoted Colonel Mojtaba Mousavi, commander of the Iranian border guard in the area, as saying.

"This measure by Azerbaijan border guards was illegal and cowardly."

The shooting happened on Wednesday morning and Azeri authorities still had not returned the soldier's body, the report said.

A similar incident occurred in early July when an Azerbaijani border guard who crossed into Iran was killed in a clash with Iranian guards.

Iran said at the time it was not uncommon for border guards to cross the unmarked frontiers, but the soldier had ignored orders to halt. (Reporting by Hossein Jaseb; Writing by Robin Pomeroy; Editing by Robert Woodward)