Tensions mount between Iran, Azerbaijan in Caucasus region

Tensions mount between Iran and Azerbaijan as Tehran heckles Baku over its ties with Israel and Baku criticizes Tehran’s “provocative” military actions near its borders.

Most recently, Iran said Wednesday that it has “serious concerns” about Israel’s presence in the Caucasus.

The comments came a day after unconfirmed reports in Azerbaijani media said Iran has closed its airspace for Azerbaijani army aircraft.

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Since mid-September, tensions have soared between Iran and Azerbaijan, which share a 700-kilometer (430-mile) border.

Israel is a major arms supplier to Azerbaijan, which last year won a six-week war with neighbor Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

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Iran warns Israel over ‘presence’ in Azerbaijan

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian says his country does not accept “geopolitical changes” in the Caucasus. Tensions between Iran and neighboring Azerbaijan have been on the rise of late.

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Tensions between Iran and its northern neighbor have been on the rise. Azeris are the largest minority in Iran and antagonism from Baku could prove to be a thorn in Tehran’s side.

Azerbaijan is also a close ally of Turkey, Iran’s rival as a regional power. Baku has hinged a significant portion of its defense policy on Israeli technologies such as drones.

Azerbaijan relied heavily on these technologies in its war with Armenia last year when it successfully reclaimed the previously disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, known to Armenians as Artsakh.

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Iran, Armenia to Expand Strategic Relations

“We have defined a process that will become operational quickly to revitalize the transit roads and the routes of the two countries. In the coming weeks, we will see more liveliness in the relations between the two countries,” Amir-Abdollahian said.

“Our region and our northern neighbors are in dire condition, particularly due to the presence of Zionists and terrorists in parts of the region,” he added.

“We will not allow some foreign states to affect Iran’s relations with its neighbors, including Armenia. Our region will by no means tolerate new excessive demands. The problems of the region must be resolved by the people of the region without any foreign intervention,” the Iranian FM also noted.