Baku again dismisses rumours of Israeli spy links

Mon 16 Apr 2012 06:51 GMT | 10:51 Local Time

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Senior Azerbaijani officials have again dismissed reports that Baku is providing support to Israeli agents working against Iran.

The officials made the comments in an article on Azerbaijani-Iranian relations by Irish Times journalist Daniel McLaughlin.

The article, entitled "Spate of arrests spurs Azeris to closely monitor Iran talks", looked at Azerbaijan's interest in the international talks on Iran's nuclear program following recent arrests of Azerbaijani citizens on charges of spying for Iran and claims, made in Foreign Policy journal, that Azerbaijan would allow its territory to be used to launch attacks on Iran.

"It’s not true that Azerbaijan is providing support to Israeli agents,” Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov told The Irish Times on Friday.

“Azerbaijan and Iran recognise that good neighbourly relations are extremely important for the stable development of both countries and for the region as a whole,” he said, adding: “But then, you have the other story, that moles are moles, and you cannot stop this in any country.”

The minister told The Irish Times that he hoped for progress in Saturday's talks in Istanbul on Iran’s nuclear program.

"Diplomacy is not exhausted, and we should double and triple our diplomatic efforts to find a common solution to this issue,” Mammadyarov said.

Elnur Aslanov, head of the Department for Political Analysis and Information Support at the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration, said it was “absurd” to suggest Israel could use Azerbaijani bases to bomb Iran.

“But this region is very sensitive,” he acknowledged.

“Of course various parties are interested in keeping the region boiling and preventing peace . . . A number of factors are now on the surface that may not have been felt before. Certain parties are trying to use groups to change the game. Parties want to create their own fifth columns in the region,” he said, without revealing the country or groups he had in mind.

“The statistics of recent months show that there has been increasing activity. But that can be connected to the regional situation . . . And we have all the resources necessary to prevent these activities,” Elnur Aslanov said without elaborating.





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