Azerbaijan's government has denied a report saying that Baku has granted Israel access to Azerbaijani bases that could be used in potential air strikes by Israel against nuclear targets in Azerbaijan's neighbor Iran.
The article in "Foreign Policy" magazine, titled "Israel's Secret Staging Ground," quotes unnamed U.S. government sources as saying Azerbaijan is providing Israeli fighter planes with access to airfields near the Iranian border.
A spokesman for the Azerbaijani president's office, Ali Hasanov, rejected the report on March 29, saying outside forces were trying to foment trouble between Iran and Azerbaijan.
Iranian-Azerbaijani relations have been strained since reports last month said Azerbaijan had purchased some $1.6 billion of weapons from Israel.
Israel, which views a potential Iranian nuclear bomb as a threat to its existence, says military strikes on Iran remain an option.
Based on reporting by APA, Interfax, and AFP
Copyright (c) 2012 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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