Azerbaijan: Iranian helicopters violated airspace

Azerbaijan is demanding an explanation from Iran after helicopters from the neighboring nation violated its airspace, a top official said Monday - an incident that could add to tension between the countries. Iranian helicopters violated Azerbaijan's airspace several times while escorting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on a visit to northern Iran last Thursday, State Border Service chief Elchin Quliyev said. Azerbaijani officials complained to Iranian border officials and the military attache in the capital, Baku, and a deputy foreign minister was to raise the issue during a visit to Teheran this week, Quliyev said. Relations between the countries are strained by concerns in Azerbaijan over the treatment of ethnic Azeris in Iran, where they are the largest minority, and over the influence of Iran in Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic that is predominantly Muslim but is a secular state.