Iran and Azerbaijan are reportedly in talks to de-escalate tensions ahead of plans for the reopening of the latter’s embassy in Tehran, according to Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani.
During a press conference on Monday, Kanaani said that foreign ministers from both countries have been engaged in several rounds of talks in recent weeks, in order to repair relations, which have been strained since January, following a deadly attack on the embassy in the Iranian capital. The shooting killed a security staff member and injured two others, prompting Baku to shut down its embassy and evacuate staff.
“We are currently in the stage of negotiations to move from the phase of tension to a new phase on the reopening of Azerbaijan’s embassy in Tehran,” Kanaani stated.
In May tensions again escalated after Azerbaijan arrested at least nine of its nationals, suspected of being linked to Iranian secret services and plotting a “coup” and assassinations, while another six were arrested the month before on similar charges.
Also last month, Iran revoked the visas of four Azerbaijani diplomats, which followed Baku declaring four employees of the Iranian embassy in Azerbaijan as persona non grata in April “for activities inconsistent with diplomatic status and the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.”
Azerbaijan, which has strong ties with Iran’s nemesis, Israel, has also recently issued its second warning within months to its citizens against traveling to the Islamic Republic, attributing it to the “terrorist” attack against its embassy. Iranian officials claimed the incident was due to personal family matters.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Kanaani responded on Twitter by stating: “what should scare the people of #Azerbaijan is the #Zionist_regime, not civilised and Islamic Iran,” in a reference to Israel.