Baku, Sep. 23 Azerbaijans media reported Thursday that Iran violated Azeri airspace by sending surveillance aircraft for aerial reconnaissance. There was no immediate reaction from Tehran, but the top commander of Azerbaijan's Air Force, General Rahil Rzayev, denied any incursion of his countrys airspace.
Any aircraft violating Azerbaijan's airspace can be shot down immediately, said the general.
In Baku, military commentator Lieutenant-Colonel Uzeyir Jafarov said two Iranian aircraft have been spotted over Azerbaijani airspace after crossing over to the Azeri section of the Caspian Sea on Sep. 18. The airplanes only turned back after receiving a warning signal from the Azeri Air Force, he said.
The planes were not fighter jets but were surveillance planes sent to spy over Azerbaijan, Jafarov said. He said that Iran had stepped up similar provocations in recent weeks.
The Iranian military has used manned and unmanned jets on many occasions in the past to spy on its neighbors, military experts familiar with the region said.
When Iranian fighter jets violated Azeri airspace two years ago, tensions between the two countries rose sharply. After the latest incident, Azeri Air Force units have been placed on heightened alert.