Azeri Foreign Ministry Spokesman Comments On Radar, Ties With Iran

22 Aug 07

Azerbaijan is ready to accept any initiative that will contribute to
stability in the region, Foreign Ministry spokesman Xazar Ibrahim said,
commenting on the possible joint use of an Azerbaijan-based radar
station by Russia and the USA. He also spoke in favour of expanding
relations with Iran. The issue of ethnic Azeris’ rights in Iran was
not raised during the Iranian leader’s visit to Baku since Azerbaijan
does not want to interfere in its neighbour’s internal affairs, Ibrahim
said. The following is the text of Ilya Faynzilberg’s interview with
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Xazar Ibrahim on Azerbaijani
website on 22 August:

[Correspondent] Xazar muallim, the Iranian president’s visit
to Azerbaijan began yesterday. This is why my first question is
quite anticipated: what is your opinion about the current stage of
Azerbaijani-Iranian relations?

[Xazar Ibrahim] Azerbaijan and Iran are neighbouring countries
whose relations are on a high level and friendly. Political,
economic and cultural ties between our countries are developing
dynamically. Currently, we are working to further deepen relations
between our countries.

[Correspondent] How would the information that Iran is practically
finishing the construction of a dam on Azerbaijan’s occupied
territories despite Baku’s protest affect those relations?

[Xazar Ibrahim] We are aware of it and I can say that the situation
is not as simple as it is presented in some of the domestic media
outlets. As is known, this project was agreed upon in the Soviet era
and was very important in terms of developing our agriculture.

However, taking into account the fact that Azerbaijan’s Cabrayil
District is now under Armenian occupation, Azerbaijan has informed
Tehran of its position, which is that the country that has occupied
the territory of our country should not benefit from the project. Iran
agrees with Azerbaijan’s position.

[Correspondent] How does Baku react in general to constantly developing
relations between Iran and Armenia?

[Xazar Ibrahim] Building relations between two sovereign countries –
like Armenia and Iran – is their own business.

On the other hand, one should not forget that Armenia is also an
aggressor country which has occupied 20 per cent of another country’s

That’s why we hope a lot that the development of relations between
Iran and Armenia would not result in Armenia’s escalation of its
aggressive policy towards the neighbouring countries.

[Correspondent] Why the situation of Azeris in Iran is not discussed
during the visit of that country’s president?

[Xazar Ibrahim] Azerbaijan is of course concerned about the fate of
compatriots living in Iran and other countries as well. But Azerbaijan,
unlike Armenia, is not in a habit of interfering in the internal
affairs of the neighbouring countries.

Our position is that we have to further deepen positive
Azerbaijani-Iranian relations.

[Correspondent] What is Iran’s stance on the prospect of the joint
use of the Qabala radar station by the Americans and Russians?

[Xazar Ibrahim] I cannot comment on Iran’s position but I should
say that Azerbaijan’s position is that any initiative that would
contribute to stability in the region should be utilized.