Ilham Aliyev's shocking statement on Iran
Discussing the results of the working visit of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to Germany, journalists and experts focused on German-Azerbaijani relations and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict – topics that were actually at the core of the meetings in Berlin. However, one short phrase, briefly stated by the president, remained outside of the analysts' attention. Meanwhile, the information voiced by the head of Azerbaijan is shocking. Answering a question from a German journalist about Azerbaijan's reaction to the supply of Russian weapons to Armenia, Aliyev noted that he is absolutely fine with this fact. "The fact that Russia sells weapons to Armenia poses no threat to Azerbaijan. We understand that Russia is a major producer of weapons and it can sell them anywhere, to any country. Not only Armenia, but Azerbaijan also buys weapons from Russia – but, unlike Armenia, Azerbaijan pays twice as much for these weapons. In addition, Russia is not the only country from which we buy weapons. It is no secret that we buy weapons from Turkey, Israel, Belarus, Iran and many other countries, which helps to modernize our army," Ilham Aliyev stressed.
Thus, for the first time, the Azerbaijani side officially (moreover, at the level of the head of state) said that the Azerbaijani army buys weapons from Iran. The fact that Azerbaijani-Iranian relations have been on the rise since the election of Hassan Rouhani is not new. Active work on the implementation of strategic transport project "North-South" in the trilateral format Moscow-Baku-Tehran is being carried out – considering the fact that Iran is no longer under the regime of international sanctions, the project becomes especially important. But the establishment of cooperation in the military and technical sphere between Baku and Tehran is an uncommon thing, considering the fairly complicated history of relations between the two neighboring countries, which share a common historical and cultural heritage. A year ago, during the visit of Azerbaijani Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov to Iran, it was decided to establish a joint defense commission. Since then, there has been no substantive information on progress in this area. Only after the April clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh did Lieutenant-General Yashar Aydemirov state in an interview to the APA news agency that Azerbaijan used Iranian weapons in the so-called "four-day war".
"It's no secret that 122 mm howitzer D-30A, 107 mm multiple launch rocket systems (YARS), 60 mm mortars, as well as a large number of weapons and other means of military purpose, purchased in Iran, were successfully used in early April during the fight against the Armenian invaders. My talks with comrades-in-arms, who participated in the battles, once again confirmed the high efficiency of these weapons in terms of destructive force," the reserve general stated. At the time, Vestnik Kavkaza sent a request to the Iranian embassy in Baku to comment on these statements, however there was no response from the Iranian diplomats.
Now it becomes obvious that in recent years Baku and Tehran have carried out significant work in the field of military cooperation, and the outlined tendencies of political and economic rapprochement have specific results in the military and technical sphere. It is quite understandable that, until now, this cooperation was not particularly publicized, since the establishment of cooperation in the defense sphere is a process that requires a certain degree of confidentiality (especially considering possible conflicts of interest with the participation of third countries). Aliyev's statement in Berlin could not be accidental. It is obvious that Iranian-Azerbaijani military cooperation is already an accomplished fact today. It indicates the complete diversification of sources of military supplies by Azerbaijan: from Turkey to Russia, from Israel to Iran.