Iran involved by Israel’s presence in Caucasus, FM says

Iran’s new international minister stated Wednesday that Tehran has “serious concerns” about Israel’s actions within the Caucasus area. 

Iran’s chief diplomat Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made the feedback whereas in Moscow for talks along with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

“We certainly will not tolerate geopolitical change and map change in the Caucasus,” Amir-Abdollahian said in a press briefing. “We have serious concerns about the presence of terrorists and Zionists in this region.”

Israel provides significant arms to Azerbaijan. According to the Israel Hayom newspaper, Baku is considering buying Israel’s Arrow-3 missile defense system. During its six-week war with Armenia for control of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region last year, Azerbaijan deployed Israel-made surveillance drones on the battlefield. 

Earlier this week, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Leyla Abdullayeva pushed back on Iran’s repeated claims that Israeli troops are in the country. 

“We reject the allegations of any third party’s presence near the Azerbaijani-Iranian border. Such allegations are totally baseless,” Abdullayeva said Monday.

Tensions have risen between Iran and neighboring Azerbaijan in recent weeks. In mid-September, Baku held joint military drills with Turkey and Pakistan near the 700-kilometer (435-mile) border Azerbaijan shares with Iran. Tehran responded by launching military drills of its own on Friday, prompting Turkey to announce plans for military drills with Azerbaijan this week. 

During an interview with Turkish news agency Anadolu, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev denounced the Iranian war games and asked, “Why now, and why on our border?”

In an additional signal of stress between the 2 neighbors, Iranian information company Tasnim reported on Tuesday that Azerbaijan shut down a mosque within the Azerbaijani capital that was linked to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.


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