Iran, Azerbaijan restore trust after trilateral talks

Iran, Azerbaijan restore trust after trilateral talks

Iran, Azerbaijan restore trust after trilateral talks

Turkish FM Davutoğlu (R) and his Iranian (L) and Azerbaijani counterparts discussed regional cooperation at a tripartite meeting held in Nakhichivan on March 7. AA photo

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said March 12 after meeting with the Azerbaijani defense minister that his country is confident neighboring Azerbaijan would not allow attacking forces to pass through its territory, in the latest sign of easing relations between the two countries.

The foreign ministers of both countries were in Nakchivan last week for a trilateral meeting with Turkey. “We are sure that we will face no problems from our brother and neighbor Azerbaijan,” Ahmadinejad said, Agence France-Presse reported.

“Rest assured that ties between Tehran and Baku will never be harmed,” he said, adding that the “artificial problems” that exist would be resolved and ties would be strengthened. Abiyev said “No nation can damage the ties between Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan.” He vowed that his country “will not allow anyone to use its ground or airspace against Iran, because we consider Iran a friend and brother.” These professions of closeness are intended to mend a rift opened up by Iranian news reports that Azerbaijan had bought $1.5 billion worth of weapons from Israel.

The rift was widened by a separate incident in Azerbaijan in which police said they had arrested an unspecified number of people linked to Iran and to the Hezbollah on suspicion of planning attacks in the country. Iran last month also accused Azerbaijan of working with Mossad and helping assassins who have murdered Iranian nuclear scientists in recent years.

In the trilateral meeting last week, the three sides vowed to avoid allowing their territories be used to threaten each other. A declaration adopted said the three countries are determined “not to allow their territories to be used, under any circumstances, for any threat or activity against each other which may lead to hostilities.”