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Iran peacekeepers deployed in Darfur
Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:40PM
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File photo shows Iranian peacekeepers during a military march in Tehran.
A group of Iranian peacekeepers have been deployed in the Darfur region of Sudan within the framework of the United Nations mission in the African country.

Iran dispatched peacekeeping forces to the Horn of Africa in 2003 amid heated border disputes between Ethiopia and Eritrea in order to help the two countries determine common borders, Fars News Agency reported.

Peacekeeping troops from Iran have also been deployed on various occasions in North Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Darfur region and are currently helping the UN mission in Darfur.

The Iranian Army’s peacekeeping unit was established in 1992 in order to take part in humanitarian missions worldwide.

According to Commander of Iran's Army Brigadier General Ataollah Salehi, the United Nations holds special training courses for Iranian peacekeepers and pays periodic visits to them in Iran.

Last October, Commander of the Iranian Army's Ground Forces Brigadier General Ahmad-Reza Pourdastan voiced Iran's readiness to send peacekeepers to any region requested by the United Nations.

"Undertaking peacekeeping missions by the Iranian [military] forces indicates the power and strength of Iran's Armed Forces," he added.

Pourdastan said Iranian peacekeepers have learned English, Arabic and French due to the special nature of their missions, adding that they are trained in necessary skills for such missions.

South Sudan became independent through a referendum in April 2010 after years of civil war, from 1955 to 2005, between southern and northern parts of the country, which left at least 2 million Sudanese dead.

A peace agreement was signed between the two sides on January 9, 2005, which put an end to the civil war and made way for the southern part of Sudan to choose between union with the north or independence.

In the referendum that was held on January 9, 2011, South Sudan gained independence and the new African state was officially born six months after the peace agreement on July 9, 2011.

The United Nations Peacekeeping mission began in 1948 when the Security Council authorized the deployment of UN military observers to the Middle East.

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