Azerbaijan will not lend its territory as a staging ground for a Western- or Israeli-led attack on Iran, the Caspian nation’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said, refuting speculation to that effect as “groundless” and “distorted.”
“Several foreign media outlets are constantly releasing groundless and false reports,” he said Sunday, according to the Azerbaijan Press Agency. “Such distorted information was refuted at the level of the Foreign Ministry… We have announced several times that Azerbaijan will not allow its territory to be used against Iran.”
Azerbaijan and Israel maintain generally good relations. In February, the two countries signed a $1.4 billion dollar arms deal, and earlier this year Azeri forces detained Iranian agents who allegedly sought to attack US or Israeli targets in Azerbaijan. In December, reports surfaced that Israel has a drone fleet stationed in Azerbaijan in order to monitor Iranian activity.
However, Azerbaijan has consistently denied that it would let Western powers use its territory to attack Iran, which has a sizable population of ethnic Azeris.
“Azerbaijan is pursuing an independent, peaceful foreign policy ensuring its interests, and this policy is based on mutual confidence and respect in the relations with the neighboring countries, except for Armenia,” said Mammadyarov on Sunday, referring to the long-simmering conflict between the two neighboring countries, which do not maintain diplomatic relations.
“We don’t want any new conflict zones in the region, and are in favor of the settlement of all existing misunderstandings through peace and negotiations,” he added.