Azerbaijan: We Did Not Give Israel Access to Air Bases Near Iranian Border

This afternoon, the Azerbaijani government denied granting Israel any sort of access to air forces that could be used in a strike against Iran.

The announcement comes in the wake of an article in the “Foreign Policy” magazine that quoted an anonymous US government source that claimed Israel had gained access to air bases in Azerbaijan.  According to news reports, the article in the “Foreign Policy” magazine, Israel was granted four abandoned runways linked to air force bases that could be used to house Israeli aircraft and serve as a base for a strike against Iran.  American sources claimed this was done quietly, but that it is likely that Azerbaijan would allow Israeli jets to land in the country after a strike on Iran.

Over the last few months, the US and other European countries have been pressuring Israel to tone down its warnings about a strike against Iran and its questionable nuclear program.   The article voiced US concerns about Israel’s intentions and said that the US has been watching Israeli activity in Azerbaijan.  Finally, the article said that Israel has been using Azerbaijan as a location for keeping tabs on Iran and its nuclear program that most of the word suspects has the purpose of weapons to be used against Israel and the US.

The article also speculated that the airfields are one of the final steps Israel needs in order to plan a strike against Iran, especially since it would enable Israeli jets to avoid risky mid-air refueling.

This morning, Azerbaijan’s president, Ali Hasanov, said the article was an attempt to foment additional problems between Iran and Azerbaijan, who have had strained relations for the last few months.  The strained relations are due to Azerbaijani’s authorities arresting 22 individuals tied to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in connection with a foiled terrorist attack against Israeli and American targets.  In addition, Azerbaijan recently purchased about $1.6 billion in military equipment from Israel that includes drones and missile defense systems.

Israel has not commented on the report and has neither confirmed nor denied the allegations.