Iran has closed its airspace to Azerbaijan’s air force, which supplies military equipment equipment to the Nakhijevan Autonomous Republic, Haqqin.az reported Tuesday, October 5. According to Azeri media publications, the country’s defense department has already been notified of the change.
“Baku regarded this decision as another betrayal against Azerbaijan, which is instigated by the Armenian government,” the Defense Ministry reportedly said. [sic]
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian wants Russia’s “to be sensitive about any potential changes in borders across the region.”
Amirabdollahian made the remarks on Tuesday, October 5 in Moscow, ahead of his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The Iranian foreign policy chief said Iran “certainly will not tolerate geopolitical change and map change in the Caucasus”, Al Jazeera reports.
Amirabdollahian said Iran expects Russia “to be sensitive about any potential changes in borders across the region, and be sensitive about the presence of terrorists and the movements of the Zionist regime that threatens regional peace and stability”.
Tension has been high between Iran and Azerbaijan, which share a 700km (430 mile) border, since mid-September. Iran’s army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have recently mobilised forces and held military drills close to its northwestern borders with Azerbaijan amid lingering tensions following Azerbaijan’s 44-day war with Armenia last year. Azerbaijan and Turkey, in response, launched a joint military drill starting on Wednesday.
Azerbaijan has closed a mosque and an office linked to Iran’s supreme leader in Baku just days after Tehran held military maneuvers close to the two countries’ common border, RFE/RL reports.
“The [Husseiniyya] mosque and the office of Seyyed Ali Akbar Ojaghnejad, representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Baku, were sealed and closed today by order of the authorities of the Republic of Azerbaijan,” Iran’s Tasnim agency said on October 5.
Azerbaijan’s Interior Ministry said in a statement that the cause for the closure, which also affected other indoor spaces, was a surge in coronavirus infections.
Ojaghnejad has been Khamenei’s representative in Azerbaijan since 1996, according to the website of his office, which is located on the premises of the mosque.
Iran’s embassy in Baku said in a statement on the evening of October 5 that it had followed up on the matter through diplomatic channels, adding that there had been no advance warning of the move.
Tensions have been high recently between the two neighbors, who share a 700-kilometer border. Iranian ground forces began maneuvers near the frontier on October 1, a move criticized by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.