Azerbaijan Denies Its Airspace Was Used In Attack On Iran Nuclear Site
Radio Farda July 06, 2020
The Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan on Monday denied allowing another country – presumably Israel or the United States – to use its airspace to carry out attacks on Iran.
"Information about Russia's 'Container' radar system detecting unknown planes using Azerbaijan's air space to carry out attacks on Iran is an absolute lie," Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry said according to Azerbaijan's International News.
"The dissemination of such information is aimed at undermining the Azerbaijani-Iranian relations," the Ministry told International News and declared that the allegations of Azerbaijan's involvement were disseminated by "pro-Armenian forces" with the aim of damaging the relations between Iran and Azerbaijan.
The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry also stressed that Azerbaijan has never taken any steps against Iran and will not do so in the future.
The source of the news about detection of foreign planes in Azerbaijan's airspace is the lesser-known Avia-Pro news website of Russia. The news website on Monday claimed that the drones that attacked Iran's military and nuclear sites had been detected by the Russian Radar system.
In recent days there have been explosions at two of Iran's top security nuclear and military facilities – Khojir in the east of Tehran and Natanz in Isfahan province.
Iranian authorities said the incident at the first site was caused by the explosion of a gas storage tank but have delayed thee announcement of the cause of the incident at Natanz "for security reasons".
It's been widely suggested that Israeli drone or missile attacks were responsible for the explosions. Israel has not commented on the issue but in similar cases, they have neither confirmed nor denied reports of their involvement.
Azerbaijan and Armenia – which Azerbaijan has accused of slander in this case -- have had a territorial and ethnic conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region for more than three decades. Azerbijan has close military relations with the United States and Israel.
Iran's relations with Azerbaijan soured during the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but since President Hassan Rouhani took office relations have been cordial and the two countries have cooperated on a number of projects.
In August 2014 after the Revolutionary Guard announced that it had downed an Israeli drone that attempted to "infiltrate the nuclear zone of Natanz", the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan refuted the claims that the drone had been launched from its territory.
However, a few days after the incident, Brigadier-General Masoud Jazayeri, Deputy of Iran's Armed Forces Joint Staff, told reporters that the Israeli drone had flown in from "a country in the north of Iran" and threatened to disclose the name of the country if that country did not take action to make compensation.
Copyright (c) 2020. 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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