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Report: Iran confident Azerbaijan will not allow attack through its territory
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) ' Iran is confident that neighboring Azerbaijan would not allow attacking forces to pass through its territory, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday, according to the official IRNA news agency.
Ahmadinejad told visiting Azerbaijan Defense Minister Gen. Safar Abiyev, "We are sure that no problem will take place against Iran from (the land of) our friend and brother, Azerbaijan."
Earlier, Abiyev, told reporters Azerbaijan will not act against "great Iran" or allow an attack using its territory. This came after he met his Iranian counterpart, Gen. Ahmad Vahidi.
Ahmadinejad said, "Joint enemies of the two countries seek to stop improvement relations between Tehran and Baku," Azerbaijan's capital. He did not elaborate.
On February 29, Israel signed a $1.6 billion deal to sell drones, anti-aircraft and missile defense systems to Azerbaijan, bringing Israeli technology to the border of archenemy Iran.
In reaction, Iran summoned Azeri envoy, seeking clarifications about the sale.
On Monday, Abiyev indirectly defended the deal. "Azerbaijan must improve its army, and for this purpose it is obliged to purchase weapons and equipment," he said.
Vahidi announced Iran's readiness to provide the Azeri army with Iranian military products. "We are ready to offer any support that can lead to self-sufficiency of army of Azerbaijan," Vahidi said. He said both countries should avoid any action that could damage security and tranquility in the region.
Iran has expressed concern over alleged Israeli intelligence activity in the oil-rich Caucasian state.
Israel has hinted at an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, charging Iran is trying to make nuclear weapons.
Iran denies the charge, saying its nuclear activities are aimed at peaceful purposes like power generation and cancer treatment.