NAKHIJEVAN, Azerbaijan—An Israeli spy drone which Iran recently downed on its way to one of the Iranian nuclear site had taken off from an air base in Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan (Nakhijevan) exclave, sources say.
The anonymous sources said the Hermes drone, which was taken down by Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) forces on Aug. 23 after 300 kilometers of flight, was bound for the Natanz enrichment facility in central Iran.
The revelation about the Israeli drone’s launch site indicates Baku’s involvement in the spying mission, the unnamed sources claimed.
The stealth spy drone was targeted by a surface-to-air missile before it reached the strategic location.
Iran’s nuclear facilities have been a regular target for espionage activities by US and Israeli intelligence services, which have at times used drones for this purpose.
Azeri officials continue to claim that they will never allow their country to be used as a launch pad against Iran, but the Baku government has been serving the Israeli government’s interests in the region.
Israel’s strategic Haifa port receives nearly 40 percent of its oil needs from the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline cutting across Azerbaijan.
In another sign of Azerbaijan’s hostility against the Islamic Republic, a separatist cell calling itself “World Azerbaijanis Congress” recently held an anti-Iran forum in Baku.
The World Azerbaijanis Congress, which was founded in the United States in 1997, seeks the separation of Iran’s northwestern provinces of East and West Azerbaijan and their unification with the neighboring Republic of Azerbaijan.