Zarif responds to Erdogan’s ‘wrong’ poem on Iranian Azerbaijan

December 11, 2020 - 13:57

TEHRAN – Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded to a poem recited by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “wrongly” claiming that Iranian provinces of Azerbaijan were part of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

“Pres. Erdogan was not informed that what he ill-recited in Baku refers to the forcible separation of areas north of Aras from Iranian motherland. Didn't he realize that he was undermining the sovereignty of the Republic of Azerbaijan? NO ONE can talk about OUR beloved Azerbaijan,” the chief Iranian diplomat tweeted.

Zarif also published the same tweet in Persian, a language he rarely uses on Twitter. The Persian version of the tweet is slightly different from the English one.

“They didn’t tell Erdogan that the poem that he wrongly recited in Baku is related to the forcible separation of areas north of Aras from Iranian motherland,” Zarif said in the Persian tweet.

The Iranian foreign minister was responding to a controversial poem recited by the Turkish president during a “victory parade” held in the Azerbaijani capital on the occasion of what Azerbaijan calls “victory” over Armenia.

“They separated the Aras River and filled it with rocks and rods. I will not be separated from you. They have separated us forcibly,” the poem says.

Aras is a border river between the Republic of Azerbaijan of the two ethnic-Azeri Turk majority of Iranian provinces of Ardabil and East Azerbaijan. The river is said to be a symbol of what some Iranian Azeri separatists call the separation of Iranian Azerbaijan from the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Erdogan’s poem has sparked outrage on social media platforms in Iran, with many Iranian users on social media warning about the Turkish leader’s “Neo-Ottomanism” ambitions against Iranian territorial integrity.

Some current and former Iranian officials also warned about Turkish “expansionism.”

During the Baku parade two Iranian places – Arg of Tabriz and the Sabalan Mountain - were also mentioned in a recitation of epic poems that were broadcasted over loudspeakers. Abbas Akhoundi, the former transport minister of Iran, posted a video of the recitation on his Twitter account, saying this shows that the Republic of Azerbaijan is going with Turkey’s regional expansionism.

“This shows the alignment of the regional expansionist policies of Turkey, the support of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and the leadership and design of Israel. Azerbaijan has always been not only the protector of the land of Iran but also one of the founders and main pillars of Iranian civilization. Erdogan’s move should be condemned. But what do those who deliberately ignore things in Iran say about this?” Akhoundi tweeted.

Hesameddin Ashena, an advisor to the Iranian president, blamed Erdogan’s poem on the Center for Iranian Studies (IRAM), an Ankara-based think tank that has long been suspected by some Iranians as pushing for the disintegration of Iran through creating discord among Iran’s ethnic minorities.

Commenting on Zarif’s tweet about Erdogan, Ashena tweeted, “Relying on the pieces of advice from quasi-think tanks such as IRAM could not yield better results than this.”


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