DUBAI: Iran has started military exercises near its border with Azerbaijan as tensions between the two neighbours rose over issues including Baku’s relations with Israel.
Iranian state media said the exercises involved armoured and artillery units, as well as drones and helicopters. They started near the Poldasht and Jolfa border crossings with Azerbaijan yesterday.
Iran has long criticised Azerbaijan’s military ties with Israel, which include purchases of Israeli arms. Tehran has also been wary over nationalists in Turkey and Azerbaijan.
After Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev reportedly voiced “surprise” over the planned exercises, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said that holding military exercises by a state within its territory was part of its national sovereignty, Iranian state media said.