On Tuesday, December 13, the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, paid an official state visit to Azerbaijan, where he met with Ilham Aliyev to sign trade agreements and discuss future cooperation between the two countries.
Preliminary agreements were also signed on the sale of $4.8 billion dollars worth of weapons by Israel to Azerbaijan.
However, Netanyahu’s visit was accompanied by surprise and discontent in Iran’s political circles, reported Radio Svoboda.
Iranian news agency, Tanzim, reported that the former ambassador of the Islamic Republic to Azerbaijan, Mohsen Pakayin, expressed his displeasure at the meeting.
“The visit of Netanyahu in Baku is nothing but an attempt to create new political conspiracies in the region.”
In his interview, the former ambassador said that in receiving the Israeli Prime Minister, Azerbaijani was shirking its responsibilities before the global Muslim community.
“The Azerbaijani Republic, as a member of the Muslim community, must refrain from actions which would work against the isolation of the zionist regime. . . “
However, the former ambassador of Iran did say that he did not believe that such a visit would result in long term cooperation between Israel and Azerbaijan.
, reported that well – known, Iranian politician and Shi’a cleric, Hojjat-al-Islam Hasan Ameli, also expressed his discontent with the visit.
Ameli, who was born in Ardabil (a majority Azerbaijani – inhabited city), in the past has come out in support of Azerbaijan in the Nagorno – Karabakh conflict, stating that
“Karabakh is the territory of Islam. I’d personally go to the Nagorno-Karabakh War.”
The representative of Iran’s supreme leader in the West Azerbaijan Province (Iran) and imam of the mosque of Urmiya, Seyyed Mehdi Qureshi, said that “
It is unacceptable for any Muslim country to establish links with Israel. . . The Azerbaijani authorities must not forget this.”
This was Netanyahu’s second visit to Baku. Netanyahu is currently (12/16/16) in Kazakhstan meeting with President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
In 1997, when Netanyahu was returning from a trip to the Far East, he briefly met with Heydar Aliyev.
writes that other senior officials of Israel have visited Azerbaijan on several other occasions: the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Avigdor Lieberman and President Shimon Perez in 2009 and the then – Minister of Defense, Moshe Ya’alon in 2014.
Israeli mass media reported that Azerbaijani media outlets positively reported on the Netanyahu’s visit in Baku.
Political analyst Zardusht Alizade recalled the fact that during the reign of the Iranian Shah, Israel and Iran enjoyed close ties, and that with the exception of Teheran and Ankara, most Muslim nations shunned Israel.
“. . . Iran and Turkey were on the side of Israel. The entire Muslim world cursed them. After the Iranian Islamic revolution, the situation changed. The new Islamic authority announced its solidarity with the rest of the Muslim world in regards to the occupation of Palestine, and that it does not recognize Israel as a state. Even after the assassination of the Egyptian president, Anwar El Sadat (who signed the Camp David Accords) by Islamic radicals, one of the assassins was fingered out as being a pawn of Teheran.
After the Camp David Accords, the Arab countries gradually began to recognize Israel. Now, even Saudi Arabia cooperates with Israel in financial matters and in espionage.”
Alizade did, however, point out that Azerbaijan recognizes the Palestinian State, and that there is an embassy of the country in Baku.
“…because the Palestinian state was created by the decision of the United Nations. At the same time, Azerbaijan also recognizes the right of the Jewish people to live in their own state, and that does not please Teheran. We also don’t like that Iran maintains close relations with Armenia. Its true that in the late 90s, Teheran came out with the proposition of naming Armenia as the main aggressor in the conflict, which they stuck to. Even doing the war, Iranian volunteers wanted to come to Azerbaijan to fight, however the government did not allow them. The government of Iran later strenghtened its ties with Yerevan.”
Alizade believes that relations between Azerbaijan and Israel are not harmful to Palestine, however:
“The number of Arabs is about 300 – 400 million. Let them liberate Palestine, we can’t do anything to help except offer them moral support. We can’t do anything for them. Azerbaijan is interested in cooperation with Israel because a. they buy our oil and b. they sell us weapons. . . The Israel lobby in Washington is also very powerful, and has on a number of occassions helped Azerbaijan in its relations with the USA. For this reason, good relations with Israel are very important. As for Iran’s opinion on this subject – it comes from the very ideological basis of the Islamic Republic of iran – and so the powers that be are forced to tell the Iranian nation that is condemns any State that recognizes Israel.”
This article reflects the opinion of the author and as such may not reflect that of Meydan TV