By Soheila Zarfam

Baku should not take orders from Tel Aviv

February 1, 2023 - 22:40

TEHRAN – In its latest inconceivable move, Azerbaijan appealed to international organizations for a condemnation of an embassy attack that Iran says is not terrorist but Azerbaijan insists on calling it a terror attack.

The attack that took place on Friday morning continues to strain Tehran-Baku relations for no good reason. The attack was condemned in the strongest terms by Iran and the perpetrator was quickly arrested. Investigation into the attack is underway. According to early confessions by the assailant, he stormed the Azerbaijani embassy in Tehran for personal reasons. His wife has gone missing and he believed that the embassy was to blame. 

Azerbaijan, however, continues to ratchet up tensions against Iran by describing the attack as terrorist. Baku has taken a set of measures that effectively brought bilateral relations to a historical low level. Azerbaijan evacuated its embassy and withdrew its ambassador. 

This is while Iran has done everything in its power to address Azerbaijan’s concerns. Pundits believe that the Azerbaijani approach is clearly under the influence of Israel, which happens to be in the process of inaugurating the Azerbaijani embassy in Tel Aviv. 

Observers have compared Azerbaijan’s measures to those of Iran after the Shiraz terrorist attack, which claimed the lives of more a dozen. And nationals holding Azerbaijani citizenship were involved in orchestrating the attack. But Iran refrained to put the finger of blame at Azerbaijan. 

In its latest move, Azerbaijan appealed to international organizations for condemning the embassy attack. The foreign ministry of the Republic of Azerbaijan said it had submitted a set of documents containing calls for international condemnation of the recent attack on its embassy in Tehran. 

“On January 27, documents containing calls for international condemnation of the terror attack against the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the identification and prompt punishment of the organizers and perpetrators of the terror act, as well as for the fulfillment of obligations arising from the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, were submitted to relevant international organizations and platforms for adoption,” the Azerbaijani foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. 

The appeal was submitted on the same day the Azerbaijan embassy in Tehran was stormed by a gunman on personal grounds. On January 27, a man who later said he was looking for his missing wife attacked the embassy, killing one security guard and injuring two others. Iran said the attack was motived by personal problems of the assailant. But Azerbaijan insists that it was a “terror attack.”
Azerbaijan evacuated its embassy staff in Tehran, including Ambassador Ali Alizade.

“It should be noted that, since the terror attack was committed and until now, the armed attack against the Embassy of Azerbaijan has been condemned by about 100 countries and the secretariats of a number of international organizations, and the necessity of punishing the perpetrators of this act has been emphasized in the statements,” the Azerbaijani statement added. 

It also leveled accusations against Iran. “Iran has tried to prevent the terror attack from being widely exposed at the international level in the international organizations which it is a member of and in which decisions are consensus-based. In this regard, Iran objected to the draft communiqués and statements submitted by Azerbaijan to the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and to the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) immediately after the attack. In addition, Iran has appealed to numerous countries for the support of its position in the aforementioned organizations, but support to Iran's position was given only by Syria and India among the 120 countries in the Non-Aligned Movement. The main claim voiced by these three countries in opposition of the adoption of the aforementioned documents was that terror attacks in individual countries were not condemned in the Non-Aligned Movement before and bilateral issues between these countries were not brought to international platforms such as the Non-Aligned Movement. However, the Non-Aligned Movement has, in many cases, adopted a number of documents condemning the terror attacks that have occurred in its member states and emphasizing the protection of diplomatic missions.”

Azerbaijan’s accusations against Iran comes amid intensified Iranian efforts to soothe tensions and address the situation professionally. But Azerbaijan’s approach toward Iran has raised eyebrows in Tehran and beyond as Iran did everything to professionally deal with the attack. 

While Iran adopted a low-key approach, Azerbaijan worked to internationalize the attack and went so far as to caution its citizens against travelling to Iran. 

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