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Iran says embassy attack should not affect Azerbaijan relations | Politics News

Iran and Azerbaijan disagree over whether Friday’s attack on the Azerbaijani embassy in Tehran is a “terrorist act.”

Tehran, Iran – Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi told his Azerbaijani counterpart that bilateral relations should not be affected after the attack on the Baku embassy in Tehran, which killed one person.

The attack took place on Friday, when a man broke into the embassy with a machine gun and opened fire, killing the security chief and wounding two other guards.

On Saturday, Raisi and President Ilham Aliyev discussed the matter by telephone, during which the Iranian President expressed his condolences and said an investigation was underway.

“The governments of Iran and Azerbaijan will not allow bilateral relations to be affected by the proposals of those who wish harm to the two peoples,” Raisi was quoted as saying by his official website.

The Iranian president’s website also quotes Aliyev as saying that “this was an unexpected crime, but cooperation between the two countries on this issue should be carried out in such a way that no one finds an opportunity to undermine friendly bilateral relations using such incidents as a pretext.”

But the announcement of the Azeri president’s telephone conversation did not say anything about this, which further emphasized the point regarding the attack that divided Tehran and Baku.

Aliyev strongly condemned the “terrorist act” and stressed that if it were not for the second guard who grabbed the shooter, “he would have become a target for other embassy employees and their families living in the residential part of the embassy complex.”

CCTV footage released by Iran shows the attacker hurried to the scene in his car and crashed into another car parked in front of the embassy. After getting out of the car, rifle in hand, he walks past an unarmed Iranian guard sitting in a booth and enters the embassy, ​​shooting. While firing at two Azerbaijani guards, the third one attacks him, disarming the attacker.

Aliyev immediately condemned the incident as a “terrorist act” and the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador to Baku and said it was evacuating its diplomatic staff.

Meanwhile, senior officials in Tehran have repeatedly said the attack was not a “terrorist” act, as it was self-motivated.

[Translation: I was at the hospital and learned about the treatment process of the Azerbaijan Republic embassy staff. Also, in a phone call with my colleague (Azerbaijani foreign minister Jeyhun Baryamov), I conveyed Dr Raisi’s message of condolences. The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to cooperate to clarify the dimensions of the incident. I offer my condolences to the government and nation of our brother and neighbour for this tragic incident.]

The assailant, a man named Yasin Hosseinzadeh, was interviewed by Iranian state television and said he broke into the embassy to “rescue” his wife, who he said disappeared after entering the embassy about a year ago.

Iranian state television also interviewed the man’s two young children, whom he reportedly brought to the embassy and who were in the car at the time of the attack, with the daughter saying that her mother had gone back to Baku, where she was from, but her her father thought she was at the embassy.

Many countries, including Russia, Turkey and the United States, condemned the attack and called for a transparent investigation.

The attack comes amid months of tension between neighboring Iran and Azerbaijan, the latter a close ally of Turkey, Iran’s historical rival.

Iran, home to millions of ethnic Azerbaijanis, has long accused Baku of stoking separatist sentiment in the country and also disagrees with some of its plans after the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, which could affect its borders with Armenia.

Tehran has also repeatedly warned Baku against expanding military cooperation with Israel, stating that Israel could potentially use the territory of Azerbaijan as a springboard against Iran.

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