Iran is escalating tensions with Azerbaijan over Baku’s longstanding close ties with Iran’s nemesis, Israel. Iran has staged troop exercises near the Azerbaijan border in response to joint Azeri exercises with Turkish forces, at which Azeri President Ilham Aliyev showed up in military attire.
Iran is concerned by Azerbaijan’s close ties to both Israel and Turkey. Israel buys Azerbaijan’s oil, and Azerbaijan buys Israeli weapons, including drone technology. Both Turkey and Israel backed Azerbaijan’s successful military campaign against Armenia last year in Nagorno-Karabakh, while Iran tilts toward Armenia as a counterweight to Turkish-Israeli-Azeri influence in the region.