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Raisi: Iran-Azerbaijan ties unaffected by embassy attack 

January 29, 2023 at 3:24 pm

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev meets Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on November 28, 2021 [Presidency of Iran/Anadolu Agency]

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi has insisted that diplomatic relations between Tehran and Azerbaijan will not be undermined following an attack carried out at Baku’s embassy in the Iranian capital on Friday, which left the head of the embassy’s security services dead and two security guards injured.

Raisi is said to have made the remarks during a telephone conversation with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev having expressed his condolences after the attack. “The governments of Iran and Azerbaijan will not allow the relations between them to be influenced by the insinuations of the ill-wishers of the two nations,” he said.

Aliyev for his part described the incident as “an unexpected crime” and a “bloody terrorist attack”, adding that “the two countries’ cooperation on this issue should be such that nobody would be allowed to use such incidents to disrupt the two countries’ friendly relations.”

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A statement issued by Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry said that a “recent anti-Azerbaijani campaign against our country in Iran has encouraged such attacks against our diplomatic mission.”

Iranian police and security forces have since arrested the assailant who opened fire with a Kalashnikov rifle. Tehran’s police chief Hossein Rahimi confirmed the arrest and disclosed that a preliminary investigation alluded to “personal and family-related problems” as a motive. According to Iran’s Mizan news agency the gunman’s wife had disappeared in April after a visit to the embassy and that he believed she was still there at the time of the attack.

Relations between Baku and Tehran have been strained since Azerbaijan’s victory in the 2020 war with Armenia, a close ally of Iran. Disagreements over the proposed Zangezur corridor has heightened tensions in recent months. Azerbaijan which has strong ties with Turkiye and Israel has also been accused by the Iranian government of colluding with hostile states and interfering in its domestic affairs.