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Azerbaijan Rejects Iran Complaints Over Israel Arms Buy

February 29, 2012

Azerbaijan has dismissed Iranian protests over its reported deal to buy arms worth $1.5 billion from Israel.

Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Elman Abdullayev said on February 29 that Baku's foreign policy was not directed against any country.

Azerbaijan's ambassador to Iran, Cavansir Axundov, was summoned to Iran's Foreign Ministry on February 28 to explain the deal, which reportedly includes drones, antiaircraft weapons, and missile-defense systems.

Axundov said the weapons were intended "to liberate occupied Azerbaijani land," an apparent reference to the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Ethnic Armenians in Karabakh supported by Armenia waged an independence struggle in the 1990s, and the region has been de facto independent since a 1994 cease-fire.

The exchange between Baku and Tehran comes at a time of heightened tensions because of Baku's relatively warm relations with Israel

With AFP and APA reporting


Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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