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Baku: Closure of Tehran Embassy Doesn't Mean Severing of Diplomatic Ties

Baku: Closure of Tehran Embassy Doesn't Mean Severing of Diplomatic Ties

Tuesday, 31 January, 2023 - 06:45
Passengers walk out of a plane carrying the staff of Azerbaijan's embassy in Iran and their family members, who were evacuated following a recent attack, upon their arrival at an airport in Baku, Azerbaijan, January 29, 2023. (Reuters)

Azerbaijan announced that the closure of its embassy in Tehran is "temporary" and "doesn't mean that diplomatic ties had been severed", days after a gunman stormed the mission, killing one guard and wounding two others.

"The operation of Azerbaijan's embassy in Iran has been temporarily suspended following the evacuation of its staff and their family members from Iran," Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Ayxan Hacizada told Agence France-Presse.

"That doesn't mean that diplomatic ties had been severed," he said, adding that Baku's consulate general in the Iranian city of Tabriz was "up and running".

In Iran, authorities said Tehran's police arrested the attacker, who was an Iranian man married to an Azerbaijani woman. They said the gunman appeared to have had a personal, not a political, motive.

Late on Sunday, Azerbaijan's Deputy Foreign Minister Khalaf Khalafov said Azerbaijan considers those claims as "ridiculous."

"We can no longer entrust the security of our embassy staff to Iran" after authorities failed to heed repeated warnings about possible threats, Khalafov told reporters in Baku late Sunday, according to Bloomberg.

In a phone call on Saturday with his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said he hoped "this violent act of terror would be thoroughly investigated".

Iranian officials were behind the terrorist act against the Azerbaijani embassy in Iran, Chairman of Azerbaijan's State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations Mubariz Gurbanli told reporters at the funeral ceremony of Senior Lieutenant Orkhan Asqarov, who died while securing the embassy.

He stressed that masterminds and perpetrators of this crime should be punished.

There have been tensions between the two countries as Azerbaijan and Armenia have fought over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Azerbaijan also maintains close ties to Israel, which angers Tehran.

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