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Δευτέρα, 9 Μαρτίου 2009

Baku disgruntled with US meddling

Baku disgruntled with US meddling
Mon, 09 Mar 2009 18:16:19 GMT
AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters at a US military base.
The Pentagon's interference in Azerbaijan's defense issues has hit a nerve in the former Soviet Republic's parliament, an Azeri lawmaker says.

Aydin Mirzazadeh, the deputy Chairman of the defense and security committee in Azerbaijan's Parliament, rebuffed the strategic preparations by Washington to provide military support for his country.

Mirzazadeh told reporters on Monday that the Republic of Azerbaijan "is not in need of other parties' support and can resolve its problems through domestic potentials".

"Our military is perfectly capable of defending the country and we will never seek other parties' help in protecting our sovereignty," the Azeri official added.

The Azeri parliament member said the Pentagon has been holding sessions to analyze military plans for defending Azerbaijan's territorial integrity in the event of an Iranian attack on the country.

"Holding such sessions without the knowledge and presence of military officials in Baku is a questionable matter," Mirzazadeh added.

The former Soviet republic is an important ally in Washington's declared war on "Islamic extremism" and is also a key refueling point for US planes bound for Afghanistan.

The remarks by the Azeri official came amid growing speculation that the United States is gearing up to support an Israeli attack on Iran over the country's long-disputed nuclear program.

Western military experts have speculated that a US-backed Israeli war on Iran would prompt an Iranian military reaction against US interests in the region.

The large American military presence in Azerbaijan has also given rise to fears that the country could be used as a launchpad for an attack on Iran.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in 2008 that Tehran has never waged war against any nation and does not intend to do so. However, Iranian officials have warned that in case of an attack against their interests, the army would not hesitate from taking all necessary measures to protect the country's sovereignty.

Earlier in July, an aide to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Mojtaba Zolnour warned that Iranian Armed Forces would target the heart of Israel and 32 US bases if the country comes under attack.

"If the US or Israel fire one bullet against Iran, the Iranian Armed Forces will not hesitate to target the heart of Israel and 32 US military bases in the region before the dust settles," Zolnour said.

CS/HGH

Police identify Iranshahr saboteurs
Mon, 09 Mar 2009 18:59:42 GMT
Iranian security forces identify the terrorists responsible for killing a worker and abducting another in an attack on a gas supply facility.

"Several armed men broke into a gas supply facility in Iranshahr on Monday, killing one employee and taking another one hostage," an unnamed source was quoted as saying by IRNA news agency.

Security forces have identified the saboteurs, according to the source, and are carrying out operations to free the hostage and detain the assailants.

Sistan-Baluchestan has been the victim of terrorist attacks by Jundullah -- a Pakistan-based terrorist organization -- militants in recent years.

ABC News, in 2007, cited US and Pakistani intelligence sources that Jundullah (Soldiers of God), which "has taken responsibility for the deaths and kidnappings of Iranian soldiers and officials", "has been secretly encouraged and advised by American officials" to destabilize the government in Iran.

In another report in July, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh revealed that US Congressional leaders secretly agreed last year to President George W. Bush's $400-million funding request for a major escalation in covert operations in Iran.

Under the ruling, the US can arm and fund terrorist groups such as the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) and Jundullah militants.

The group's ringleader Abdolmalek Rigi describes his terrorist cell as a 'national movement' and denies any links to Washington.

SF/HGH