“This (Azerbaijan) is ground zero for intelligence work,” The Times of London quoted an Azerbaijan-based Israeli intelligence agent named “Shimon” as saying on Saturday.
“Our presence here is quiet, but substantial. We have increased our presence in the past year, and it gets us very close to Iran. This is a wonderfully porous country,” JPost quoted Shimon as saying.
Secret documents released by WikiLeaks last April revealed that Israel had been using the former Soviet republic’s soil over the past four years to spy on Iran.
The document in the US Embassy in Baku, sent to Washington in January 2009, refers to a visit by the Azeri president’s advisor for security and defense issues, Vahid Aliyev, to Israel.
According to the WikiLeaks cable, the trip was aimed at signing a contract with Tel Aviv which allowed Israel to use Azerbaijan’s soil for its spying activities against Iran. The US diplomatic cable further discloses an arms deal between the two sides.
According to the leaked cables, Azerbaijani authorities banned all anti-Israeli protest gatherings anywhere near Tel Aviv’s Embassy in Baku during the Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip at the turn of 2009.
Prior to the leak, there were reports about the operations of Israeli spying cells on the Iranian-Azeri border under the cover of farming activities.
Separatist groups and members of the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization are also freely operating within Azerbaijan’s borders