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Tehran: Azeri Drones on 'Spy Missions' along Iran Border

RIA Novosti

23:43 08/12/2012

MOSCOW, December 8 (RIA Novosti) - Azerbaijan is using drones to carry out spying missions along its border with Iran and Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan's ethnic Armenian breakaway republic, Iran's Press TV reported on Saturday.

Iranian military experts said Azerbaijan has been using Orbiter ultra-light drones assembled with Israeli help, as well as Hermes-450 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) "for control and surveillance missions."

Israel has sold 10 Hermes-450 drones, manufactured by Elbit Systems, to Azerbaijan between 2009 and 2012, the agency said, adding that Israeli satellites "are closely cooperating with Azeri drones."

The Hermes-450 UAVs can be equipped with offensive systems such as air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles, as well as electronic warfare equipment.

Earlier this year, an escalation of deadly skirmishes was seen between Armenian and Azeri forces along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh, sparking international fears that renewed full-scale conflict could be imminent.

Thousands of soldiers from each side are massed along those fragile lines. They regularly breach the ceasefire agreement by exchanging occasional small-arms and light-weapons fire, but have stopped short of intensifying the fighting.

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