Baku reacts to Iranian commander's claim about "ISIS militants"
Azerbaijan reacted to a claim by a senior Iranian commander about militants of the Islamic State (ISIS) group having been involved in the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
"When there was a war between the Republic of Azerbaijan and Armenia, one side of the conflict invited and hosted some ISIS terrorists from Syria, and they came to the region," Kiumars Heydari, Commander of the Iranian Army's Ground Forces, said on Thursday, noting that it was not clear "whether they have left the region or not."
He added: "We cannot accept the presence of these terrorists at our borders."
While Heydari reportedly did not state on which side of the conflict ISIS militants fought, Azerbaijan's Ministry of Defense reacted saying Heydari's claim was a "dirty slander."
"Heydari absurdly claims that there are 'zionist' forces deployed in Azerbaijan, that Azerbaijan was assisted in the 44-day patriotic war by ISIS terrorists dispatched from Syria, and that they are still in Azerbaijan soil," the ministry said in a written statement, adding:
"We announce that the accusation by the Iranian side that there are foreign forces in the territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan is groundless and totally unacceptable."
Heydari's claim and Baku's remarks came two days after an Azerbaijani lawmaker with strong anti-Iranian views was shot and wounded late Tuesday. The police said on Wednesday that they were investigating "a terror attack" that targeted deputy Fazil Mustafa.