IR Diplomacy: Since last year, the issue of Israel's use of Azerbaijan's soil to conduct spying operations on Iran has been discussed in media circles. This is while, among numerous published news regarding Israel's covert measures in Azerbaijan, one issue is outstanding which both Israel and the government of Baku seriously deny.
Recently, the magazine Foreign Policy, quoting anonymous US officials, reported that air bases in Baku, through a defense unity pact with Azerbaijan, are now available for Israel. In another point of this report, it was mentioned that Israel has bought one of the air bases in Azerbaijan.
Israel has denied this report, for this measure can increase the concerns of the US about the occurrence of a war between Iran and Israel. Meanwhile, Foreign Policy has quoted another US official as saying, "We scrutinize Iran's movements, and right now we are also closely following Israel's behavior in Azerbaijan, for this trend is not desirable for us."
This is while high-ranking sources in Israel emphasize that they have no information about this strategic allegation and undermine the authenticity of this report. According to them, this report has been published based on the claims of some anonymous officials and it may be false.
An Israeli official has also claimed that Iran's sensitivity towards relations between Israel and Azerbaijan can lead to closeness of ties between Baku and Tel Aviv, for, in this case, the risk of threatening measures in Azerbaijan increases and Baku, in order to protect itself, will have more cooperation with Tel Aviv.
This happens at a time when relations between Tehran and Baku have recently turned cold and there have been numerous arrests of Iranian citizens in Azerbaijan on spying accusations.
Last month, Israel emphasized that it has signed a contract worth 1.6 billion dollars with Azerbaijan to sell them unmanned spying planes and anti-missile defense systems. But Brenda Shaffer, an Israeli analyst in Azerbaijan, believes that the signing of this contract does not mean a united front against Iran. According to her, Baku looks more to show its power to Armenia, which, by now, has occupied 20% of Azerbaijan's territory.
Azerbaijan, as a country with common borders with Russia, Iran, and Turkey, tries to develop its oil-dependent economy with political stability. Azerbaijan's foreign policy is based on the satisfaction of Russia, Turkey, Iran, and, of course, the US and Israel. Shaffer has also stated that if a military attack is launched against Iran, Azerbaijan will be among the first countries which will be affected by its destructive consequences.
In other words, if Iran is threatened, Tehran's reaction to a country that supports the West, i.e. Azerbaijan, will be predictable. This is while the Israeli Foreign Minister has expressed a different opinion. He says the Jews have always felt that Azerbaijan is their own home, for this country welcomes all nationalities.
Avigdor Lieberman, in the opening ceremony of the Israel and Middle East Center of the Foreign Language University in Baku, stated, "Relations between Israel and Azerbaijan have always been good and growing."
In another part of his speech, he pointed out that students of this university can enhance their level of information with regard to Israel with the funding of the Israeli government.