Azerbaijani authorities released two Iranian prisoners. This is probably a signal that the country is seeking to normalize the tense relations with Iran and wants to avoid conflict over transit routes and Israel’s political presence in the region, believes the Bloomberg agency.
The Azerbaijani side announced the release of two Iranian prisoners a day after a telephone conversation between Azerbaijan’s chiefs of diplomacy, Jejhun Bayramov and Iran, Hosein Amir-Abdollahijan. It was the first direct attempt to ease the tensions between the two countries that had been building up since mid-September.
“The parties acknowledged that the recently observed hostile rhetoric does not correspond to the close relations between our countries and that it is necessary to resolve differences of opinion through dialogue,” the Azerbaijani diplomacy ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
Tension on the Iran-Azerbaijan line
Tensions between the two countries began to increase in September, when Azerbaijan tolled Iranian trucks passing through its territory to Armenia. The conflict escalated when Iran’s ground forces conducted exercises in the northwest of the country near the Azerbaijan border, and Tehran justified this with Israel’s political presence in the region.
Mma is linked to the 2020 six-week conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The victorious Azerbaijani side then used military equipment from Israel. Turkey, a NATO member, also supported Azerbaijan.
Iranian army commander Kiomars Heydari then warned that Iran opposed the presence of “elements of the Zionist regime … in the region”, referring to the increasingly better relationship between Azerbaijan and Israel, Iran’s traditional enemy.
Baku responded by conducting a military exercise with Ankara in the Azerbaijani enclave bordering Armenia, Iran and Turkey.
Main photo source: Azerbaijan Ministry of Defense