Iran, Azerbaijan foreign ministers discuss ties on phone amid tensions

The Azerbaijani and Iranian foreign ministers spoke about strengthening ties between the countries.

 An Azeri soldier and police officer talk as they stand guard at the Kalbajar district, Azerbaijan, December 21, 2020 (photo credit: AZIZ KARIMOV/REUTERS)
An Azeri soldier and police officer talk as they stand guard at the Kalbajar district, Azerbaijan, December 21, 2020
(photo credit: AZIZ KARIMOV/REUTERS)

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian spoke on the phone with his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov about the latest developments in bilateral relations, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

Amirabdollahian stressed that the two countries must prevent misunderstandings and work to continue to strengthen ties. He also said that Tehran expects that the problem of Iranian truck transit will be resolved soon.

Earlier this month Iran’s media began to up the rhetoric against Azerbaijan, with a headline claiming that Baku has “denied the presence of the Zionist regime near the border with Iran,” a claim that appears to contrast with its insinuation that Israel’s close relationship with Azerbaijan is a threat to Tehran.

Last week, Azerbaijan's State Border Service (SBS) rejected claims by Iranian officials that Israeli forces are present in the country near the Iranian border, saying that Azerbaijan "does not need the support of foreign forces."

Ahmed Ali Goudarzi, commander of Iran's Border Guard, claimed last week that Israeli forces are present in "sensitive areas" in neighboring countries and conducting intelligence and espionage work, advising Muslim countries "not to allow this," according to Iranian state broadcaster IRIB.

 ''Conquerors of Khaybar'' exercise conducted by Iran near border with Azerbaijan (credit: MEHR NEWS AGENCY) ''Conquerors of Khaybar'' exercise conducted by Iran near border with Azerbaijan (credit: MEHR NEWS AGENCY)

The commander additionally claimed that Israel incited neighboring countries to take action concerning their borders or impose large tolls on heavy vehicles, an apparent reference to fees recently imposed on Iranian truck drivers by Azerbaijan.

The Azeri SBS stated in response that there have never been, are not now and never will be forces of any third country on Azerbaijan's border, according to the Azeri APA news source.

Seth J. Frantzman contributed to this report.