Iranian lawmakers warn Azerbaijan president over ‘compatriots’ comment

November 14, 2022 - 9:55

TEHRAN – A group of Iranian lawmakers have fiercely responded to remarks by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev about the language rights of fellow Azerbaijanis living outside Azerbaijan, which has been understood in Iran as a clear hint at Iran’s sizable Azerbaijani population.

Lawmaker Seyed Alborz Hosseini reminded the Azerbaijani president of the fact that the Republic of Azerbaijan itself was excised from Iran in the Golestan Treaty. 

“The Azerbaijani President has made remarks about Turkish-inhabited territories. I suggest that he read the Golestan Treaty to understand which territory was separated from which territory. These remarks about the territorial integrity of neighboring states are unbecoming of the Azerbaijani president,” Hosseini said.

The remarks came in response in the controversial statement by Aliyev during the 9th Summit of the Organization of Turkic States, a pan-Turkic institution advocating Turkish unity and integration. 

“The Turkic world does not consist of independent Turkic states only, its geographical boundaries are broader. I believe that the time has come to permanently keep in mind, within the framework of the organization, issues such as preventing the assimilation and protecting the rights, security and national identity of our compatriots living beyond the countries that are members of the Organization of Turkic States,” Aliyev said. “The young generation of the Turkic world should have the opportunity to study in their mother tongue in the countries of their residence. Unfortunately, majority of the 40 million Azerbaijanis living outside Azerbaijan are deprived of these opportunities. Education of our compatriots living outside Turkic states in their mother tongue should always be on the agenda of the organization. Necessary steps should be taken in this direction.”

He added, “The state of Azerbaijan pays special attention to the protection of the rights, freedoms and security of Azerbaijanis living abroad. We will continue our efforts so that our compatriots, who were separated from the state of Azerbaijan due to bitter fate, preserve our language, traditions, and culture, remain loyal to the ideas of Azerbaijanism, and never cut ties with their historical homeland.”

Hosseini said Aliyev’s remarks are unrealistic and Azerbaijan would have been a part of Iran were it not for the Golestan Treaty. 

He also called on the Iranian foreign ministry and the Majlis to react to these remarks. 

Ali Nikzad, the deputy parliament lawmaker, quipped that the “grandson cannot deny his grandfather” and that the remarks of the Azerbaijani president are unfounded. 

Lawmaker Mohammad Reza Mirtajuddini went so far as to call for the annexation of Nakhichevan, the Azerbaijani autonomous region bordering Iran, Armenia, and Turkey. 

Mirtajuddini said Aliyev made remarks that fall beyond his capacity and accused him of not knowing history. 

Addressing Aliyev, the lawmaker said, “Note that Azerbaijan was separated from Iran, not vice versa.”

Lawmaker Mahmoud Ahmadi Bighash strongly inveighed against Aliyev, rejecting Azerbaijan’s “meddlesome remarks” and “continued insolence.”
Earlier, the Iranian foreign ministry summoned the ambassador of Azerbaijan to Iran. 

“The ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan was summoned to the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the wake of anti-Iran propaganda and a smear campaign against the Islamic Republic by Azerbaijan’s officials and media,” the Iranian foreign ministry said in a statement. 

The statement added, “During the session, the Iranian foreign minister’s assistant and director general of the Ministry’s Eurasia Department conveyed Iran’s strong protest at and dissatisfaction with the unfriendly remarks of Azerbaijan’s top officials and Azeri media’s smear campaign to Baku’s envoy.”

“We expect an end to this trend as soon as possible and the adoption of necessary measures to prevent a repetition,” the Iranian official said.

Azerbaijan’s ambassador expressed regret over the current situation and said he would relay the Islamic Republic’s protest to Baku swiftly.

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