Azerbaijan denies giving Israel air base access (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) 03/29/12)
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Azerbaijan on Thursday denied allegations made by a US magazine that
it had granted Israel access to its air bases which could assist in
potential strikes against its neighbour Iran.
Citing anonymous senior US diplomats and military intelligence
officers, the article published in Foreign Policy magazine on
Wednesday suggested that cooperation between Azerbaijan and Israel
was "heightening the risks of an Israeli strike on Iran".
The article suggested that access to Azerbaijani airfields near the
Iranian border could give Israeli fighter planes logistical
advantages in carrying out sorties against nuclear facilities in
Iran, which the Jewish state suspects of developing atomic weapons.
But the Azerbaijani defence ministry said the claims were untrue.
"This information is absurd and groundless," defence ministry
spokesman Teymur Abdullayev told AFP.
A senior official at Azerbaijan´s presidential administration said
such speculation was "aimed at damaging relations between Azerbaijan
"We have stated on numerous occasions and we reiterate that there
will be no actions against Iran... from the territory of Azerbaijan,"
presidential official Ali Hasanov told journalists in Baku.
Relations between Baku and Tehran have become increasingly strained
in recent months with Iran unhappy about Azerbaijan´s friendly links
with Israel and its reported purchase of hundreds of millions of
dollars´ worth of weapons from the Jewish state.
Tehran last month accused Azerbaijan of working with Israel´s spy
services and helping assassins who murdered Iranian nuclear
scientists in recent years -- a claim rejected by Baku as "slander".
Tensions have also flared over a series of recent arrests in
Azerbaijan of suspected attack plotters with alleged links to Tehran.
(Copyright © 2012 Agence France Presse. 03/29/12)
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