Powered by WebAds

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Azerbaijan could be powerful ally in Iran nuclear crisis

Both Israel and the United States believe that Azerbaijan could be a powerful ally in the Iran nuclear crisis. According to this morning's Jerusalem Post:

"The Azeris in Iran could possibly lead a coup and assist in overthrowing the current regime there," one official told The Jerusalem Post. "They see that Azerbaijan life is improving and becoming more westernized while in Iran they are continuously suffering."

US officials said they had an "extraordinary relationship" with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev who granted them permission to use the country to flyover and stop in throughout the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. In total, 142 US planes, officials said, flew over Azeri skies in 2005.

"Azerbaijan regards militant political Islam as a threat to itself," a senior US diplomat stationed here said. A Muslim and predominately Shi'ite but secular country, Azerbaijan, the official said, has been serving as a strategic partner to the US in the global war on terrorism since 9/11 and has troops stationed in Afghanistan.

The US military reportedly has listening stations along Azerbaijan's border with Iran. According to other media reports, the US and Israel have considered using Azerbaijan as a launching pad for an attack on Iran's nuclear reactors.

In public however, Azeri officials have ruled out the possibility that their land would be used in an aggressive attack on Iran. Last Monday, Aliyev told Iran's envoy to Baku that he would not allow the US to launch an attack from his country's territory.

US officials here said that if they wanted to attack Iran they could always use Iraq or Afghanistan where the army is already heavily stationed.

In other news from Iran this morning:


[d]iplomats said that IAEA inspectors have stripped most surveillance cameras and agency seals from Iranian nuclear sites and equipment as demanded by Tehran in response to its referral to the UN Security Council.

With most surveillance equipment and seals from Iran's nascent uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz now removed - and Iran recently ending the agency's rights to in-depth nuclear probes at short notice - the IAEA has few means to monitor the progress of Tehran's enrichment efforts, which can create either nuclear fuel or the fissile core of warheads.

It looks like this is heading for a showdown....


Post a Comment

<< Home