Israel’s sale of arms to Azerbaijan not aimed against Iran
Azerbaijan, Baku, March 30 / Trend E.Mehdiyev /
Dr Brenda Shaffer, Israel's foremost expert on Azerbaijan, suggests it is highly unlikely that Israel's sale of drones and anti-aircraft missile defence systems to Azerbaijan in a $1.6bln arms deal points to a bilateral defence pact against Iran.
If Azerbaijan is bolstering its defence systems, this is more likely to be a display of strength intended for Armenia, which currently occupies 20 per cent of it territory, the expert told The Guardian on Friday.
"Azerbaijan is bordered by Russia, Iran and Turkey. Its economy is dependent on the safe export of oil, which requires regional stability," Shaffer said.
More than 30 per cent of the Iranian population are ethnic Azeris, the expert said and added that Azerbaijan tries to maintain friendly relations with Iran as it does Israel.
"It would be very wary of allowing itself to take a step that might seen as aggressive," Shaffer suggests.
If there is a conflict with Iran, Azerbaijan will be the first to suffer, she added.