Reports Israel at the gates of Iran slammed by Baku
29 Mar, 2012 15:22
Baku has denied reports that an agreement has been reached between Azerbaijan and Israel, granting the latter air base access for potential strikes on Iran. A spokesman from the Azeri defense ministry said the claims are “absurd and groundless”.
Senior official in Azerbaijan’s Presidential Administration Ali Gasanov called the reports a provocation. He told journalists that “certain international organizations and media structures under their control are intentionally increasing tensions around Iran” in order to worsen relations between his country and Iran. Gasanov also reiterated “that there will be no actions against Iran… from the territory of Azerbaijan" – and that they won’t allow such speculation to damage ties between Baku and Tehran. These statements come on the back of a Foreign Policy report that claimed cooperation between Azerbaijan and Israel was "heightening the risks of an Israeli strike on Iran".The article also suggested that access to Azerbaijani airfields near the Iranian border could give Israeli fighter planes logistical advantages in carrying out attacks on research facilities in Iran – whom Tel Aviv accuses of developing nuclear weapons.Iran has vehemently denied the accusations, maintaining that its nuclear program is entirely peaceful. But Israel has been chomping at the bit to strike the Islamic Republic, and egging on key ally USA to join in. Many suggest that this is because Israel fears it may soon lose its window to take out Iran's nuclear facilities. Washington, on the other hand, is pressuring Tel Aviv to hold off on what it considers would be a premature and dangerous attack on Iran, arguing that economic sanctions require time to take hold.