Azerbaijan, which shares a 756- kilometer (470-mile) border with Iran, vowed to prevent the use of its territory to carry out attacks against its southern neighbor, President Ilham Aliyev’s aide said.
“Can we allow ourselves to bomb Iran or allow anyone to carry our air strikes against Iran?” Ali Hasanov, head of the social and political department of the presidential office, said in remarks broadcast on the private ANS television channel. “It’s absolutely impossible because our brothers live there.”
Azeri officials also sought to ease Iranian concerns about plans to buy Israeli drones and missile-defense systems valued at $1.6 billion, with Hasanov saying the weapons are intended to strengthen the former Soviet republic’s defense capability because of its ongoing conflict with Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Defense Minister Safar Abiyev reiterated Azerbaijan won’t be used to stage attacks against Iran at a meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi, in Tehran today, state-run Press TV reported.
Almost a quarter of Iran’s 75 million people are ethnic Azeri, while the Persian Gulf state’s Shiite religion is shared by two-thirds of Azerbaijan’s 9-million population.
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