Iran, Azerbaijan to meet after row over Israel
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu will have talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mahmadyarov (R) and Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi in Nakhchivan.Ministers of Azerbaijan and Iran will meet today for a trilateral meeting between Turkey, Iran and Azerbaijan in Nakhchivan, for the first time since the strain between the neighboring countries erupted over relations with Israel.
The strain between the two countries is not on the agenda of the trilateral meeting, which aims to expand regional cooperation, but is likely to be raised during the meeting of Iranian and Azerbaijani ministers, a diplomat told Hürriyet Daily News.
Tensions between Iran and Azerbaijan have risen after over allegations that agents from the CIA and Mossad have used the country for covert border crossings.
In February, Iran demanded that Azerbaijan prevent Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency from using Azeri territory to launch operations against Iran, while Israel said it had foiled Iranian-sponsored attacks against Israeli targets in Azerbaijan.
Bilateral relations between the two countries were further strained after Baku bought arms worth $1.5 billion from Israel.
The Azerbaijani ambassador was summoned to the Iranian Foreign Ministry Feb. 28, to explain the weapons deal and to receive a warning that Israel must not be permitted to use Azerbaijan in order to stage “terrorist acts” against Iran. The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said the reported weapons purchases, which it did not confirm had been made, were not intended to threaten Iran.
Iranian news agencies reported that Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Tehran, Javanshir Akhundov, had acknowledged the arms deal and explained that the weapons were bought “to liberate” the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which was seized from Azerbaijan by Armenian forces during a war in the 1990s.
The first gathering of the three neighboring countries’ ministers took place in the Iranian city of Orumiyeh in 2011, launching the process of trilateral meetings aiming to expand the fields of regional cooperation between the three countries.