Israel speeds up its diplomacy on Iran
WASHINGTON / TEL AVIVIsrael has sped up its diplomacy on Iran, with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on April 19 and Israel’s foreign minister expected to visit Iran’s neighbor Azerbaijan on April 23.
The closed-door conversation between Panetta and Barak focused on the “U.S.-Israel defense relationship and mutual regional security defense interests,” including Iran, Syria and the Arab Spring’s effects on the region, the Pentagon said in a statement as reported by Agence France-Presse.
The meeting took place less than a week after world powers resumed talks with Iran on its disputed nuclear program. At the end of their meeting, Panetta and Barak marked Holocaust Memorial Day by lighting candles in remembrance of the six million Jews killed by the Nazis during World War II. Panetta and Barak previously met in February in Washington.
Lieberman may visit Azerbaijan: report
Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is expected to visit Azerbaijan on April 23, in a trip indicative of Israel’s flourishing ties with the strategically important country on Iran’s northern border, Israeli daily Jerusalem Post reported on its website on April 20. Lieberman is expected to visit Baku to discuss all aspects of bilateral relations, according to the Vestnik Kavkaza website, which covers the Caucasus region. The schedule for the visit “remains secret,” the website said. Turkish sources did not confirm the report. A spokesman for Lieberman would neither confirm nor deny the visit. Lieberman last visited Azerbaijan in February 2010. 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 Israel.
Russia, China seek drone ınfo
TEHRAN - The Associated Press
Iran’s semiofficial Fars news agency said Russia and China have asked Tehran to provide them with information on a U.S. drone captured by Iran in December. The report quoted Ahmad Karimpour, an adviser to Iran’s defense minister, as saying Tehran has received requests for many countries for information on the RQ-170 Sentinel, but Moscow and Beijing have been most aggressive in their pursuit of details on the drone. He did not elaborate. Iran said in December that it had downed the unmanned stealth aircraft in eastern Iran. U.S. officials have acknowledged losing the drone.