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Iran Unconcerned By U.S.-Funded Azerbaijani Radars

7 October 2005 -- A senior Iranian official said today it has no concerns over the planned construction of a U.S.-funded radar station north of its border with Azerbaijan.

Foreign Ministry official Mohsen Baharvend made the comment to reporters at the end of a Caspian Sea summit in Baku. Baharvend said Tehran "has no problem with countries that are cooperating to fight terrorism and drug trafficking."

Azerbaijan's Deputy Foreign Minister Xalaf Xalafov in turn said any assistance Baku may receive from any country should not be regarded as directed against its neighbors.

Washington last month announced plans to help Azerbaijan build two new radar stations -- one in Astara, on its border with Iran, the other in the country's north, some 50 kilometers from its border with Russia.

U.S. Ambassador to Baku Reno Harnish has said that the purpose of this project is to help Azerbaijan protect its territorial waters and fight contraband from the Caspian Sea.