Tehran officials hinted at Azerbaijan’s friendly relations with Israel as they brushed aside Baku’s objections to extensive Iranian military exercises on its border widely seen as saber strikes.
The Islamic Republic has clearly been angered in recent weeks by a series of war games in Azerbaijan involving Azerbaijani, Turkish and Pakistani forces and even Turkish armed forces taking part in naval exercises in the Caspian Sea, which the Iranians say , goes against the spirit. an agreement according to which only countries bordering the sea are authorized to deploy soldiers there. But it is the fact that Azerbaijan enjoys warm relations with Israel as well as Baku’s purchase over the years of billions of dollars in Israeli weapons, including “killer drones”, or stray ammunition, that proved devastatingly effective in Azerbaijan’s victory in the second Nagorno last year. -The Karabakh war with Armenia — these were the clear benchmarks to which Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh responded an observation of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev that he was “very surprised” that Tehran had decided to organize exercises near the border of his country.
“It is clear that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not tolerate the presence of the Zionist regime near its borders, even if it is only a spectacle, and will take all necessary measures to protect its national security,” said Khatibzadeh to reporters on September 28. the exercises carried out by our country in the border areas of the north-west (…) are a question of sovereignty “, he added.
Tanks and howitzers
Unverified video footage posted on social media showed Iran moving large numbers of tanks and self-propelled howitzers to a border area for military maneuvers.
Khatibzadeh also noted that Aliyev’s comments went against the favorable nature of relations between Tehran and Baku, stressing that the exercises were called to contribute to “calm and stability in the whole region”.
Aliyev also recently objected to the way Iranian trucks traveled a route through a corner of Azerbaijan to transport supplies to the Karabakh territories still controlled by ethnic Armenians. Authorities began charging the drivers of these trucks a road “tax”, while two drivers were arrested. Iran said the transport is carried out by private companies, with the Iranian state having no stake in the use of the road.
The Islamic Republic of Iran and the predominantly Muslim secular State of Azerbaijan share a border of approximately 700 kilometers and normally enjoy harmonious relations. Iran maintains a studied neutrality with regard to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, but regime officials have consistently supported Azerbaijan’s view that it has the right to claim territories which are Azerbaijani according to international law.
There are around 15 million Iranian-Azerbaijani among the 84 million inhabitants of Iran, living mainly in the northwestern provinces of the country.