Iran on Friday strongly condemned the Israeli foreign minister's recent remarks about "forming a united front" with Azerbaijan against Tehran, saying it will "not remain indifferent" to the "conspiracy". In a statement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said the remarks show "sinister intentions" of Israel to turn the territory of Azerbaijan "into a national security threat" for Iran. Israel's top diplomat Eli Cohen, at a joint press conference with his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov in Tel Aviv on Wednesday following their talks, said he "agreed" with Bayramov "on forming a united front" against Iran and "strengthening cooperation" in various areas of mutual interest. Bayramov was in Tel Aviv to inaugurate his country's embassy after Baku appointed its first ambassador to Israel amid warming ties with each other and rising tensions with Tehran. "The opening of the Azerbaijani Embassy in Israel is further evidence of the strengthening of relations between our countries. Azerbaijan is a Muslim country and its strategic location makes the relationship between us of great importance and great potential," Cohen said. Kanaani described the remarks as "implicit approval of anti-Iranian orientation" in Israel-Azerbaijan cooperation and sought an "explanation" from Baku in this regard. He stressed the "unbreakable historical and religious bond between the people of Iran and Azerbaijan" and said Iran has "always sought to thwart attempts by ill-wishers" to create a rift between the two sides. The spokesman hastened to warn that Iran "cannot remain indifferent" to what he termed the "conspiracy" of Israel against it "from the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan". While Iran has a long-running rivalry with arch-foe Israel, relations between Tehran and Baku have also rapidly nosedived since the January attack on the Azerbaijani Embassy in the Iranian capital. Following the attack, which killed the embassy's security staff head and injured two others, Azerbaijan decided to evacuate the embassy and airlift all the diplomatic staff in a special plane. The incident came amid tension between the two countries after large-scale military drills on both sides. Iran and Azerbaijan share a 765 km (475 mi) border, and Iran is also home to a large ethnic Azerbaijani population.
Source: Anadolu Agency – English