Russia claims to have identified “container radar” systems of unidentified aircraft during the attack on Iran that used Azerbaijani skies to attack sensitive parts of Iran.
Responding to the accusation, the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan states:
“The information of the Russian” container “radar system that says it has traced unknown aircraft using attacks on Iran using the Republic of Azerbaijan’s skies is an absolute lie.”
The ministry said the information was spread by pro-Armenian forces, which is illogical and completely false.
“The release of such information is aimed at weakening relations between Azerbaijan and Iran,” the ministry said.
The source of the news about detection of foreign planes in Azerbaijan’s airspace is the lesser-known Avia-Pro news website of Russia. The news website on Monday claimed that the drones that attacked Iran’s military and nuclear sites had been detected by the Russian Radar system.
In recent days there have been explosions at two of Iran’s top security nuclear and military facilities – Khojir in the east of Tehran and Natanz in Isfahan province.
Iranian authorities said the incident at the first site was caused by the explosion of a gas storage tank but have delayed thee announcement of the cause of the incident at Natanz “for security reasons”.
It’s been widely suggested that Israeli drone or missile attacks were responsible for the explosions. Israel has not commented on the issue but in similar cases, they have neither confirmed nor denied reports of their involvement.
Azerbaijan and Armenia – which Azerbaijan has accused of slander in this case — have had a territorial and ethnic conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region for more than three decades. Azerbijan has close military relations with the United States and Israel.
Iran’s relations with Azerbaijan soured during the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but since President Hassan Rouhani took office relations have been cordial and the two countries have cooperated on a number of projects.
In August 2014 after the Revolutionary Guard announced that it had downed an Israeli drone that attempted to “infiltrate the nuclear zone of Natanz”, the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan refuted the claims that the drone had been launched from its territory.
However, a few days after the incident, Brigadier-General Masoud Jazayeri, Deputy of Iran’s Armed Forces Joint Staff, told reporters that the Israeli drone had flown in from “a country in the north of Iran” and threatened to disclose the name of the country if that country did not take action to make compensation.