Lieber­man in Iran talks in Baku

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News - BY ANSHEL PF­EF­FER

AVIG­DOR LIEBER­MAN has de­scribed the re­ports that Is­rael had been al­lowed to use air-bases in Azer­bai­jan for a pos­si­ble strike on Iran as “sci­ence fic­tion”. This was the first re­sponse to the re­ports by a se­nior Is­raeli of­fi­cial. It was is­sued as the for­eign min­is­ter was vis­it­ing Baku this week.

Mr Lieber­man was at­tend­ing a cer­e­mony com­mem­o­rat­ing 20 years of Is­rael-azer­bai­jan re­la­tions and held meet­ings with Pres­i­dent Il­ham Aliyev and gov­ern­ment min­istries. Is­raeli diplo­mats con­firmed that “Iran was high on the agenda in the meet­ings”.

Is­rael’s in­ten­si­fy­ing se­cu­rity ties with Azer­bai­jan, which sup­plies around 40 per cent of Is­rael’s oil, are no se­cret.

In re­cent months, the in­tel­li­gence ser­vices of both coun­tries have foiled a num­ber of at­tempts by Ira­nian ter­ror­cells to carry out at­tacks against Is­raeli and Jewish tar­gets in Azer­bai­jan.

The Baku gov­ern­ment is con­cerned that Iran is try­ing to un­der­mine its pre­dom­i­nantly sec­u­lar regime, while it has an on­go­ing dis­pute with Tehran over ex­ploita­tion of nat­u­ral re­sources be­neath the Caspian Sea.

Two months ago, a 1bn arms deal was an­nounced be­tween Is­rael and Azer­bai­jan.

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