Attack on Azerbaijani embassy in Tehran
    Overland reflection of Iran’s underground hatred

    ANALYTICS  27 January 2023 - 16:53

    Mushvig Mehdiyev

    Today, a heinous deadly attack was committed against the Azerbaijani embassy in Iran. An armed terrorist broke into the embassy’s building and shot the head of the security service dead and managed to wound two others until he was stopped by a security service employee.

    The attack was immediately condemned as a terrorist attack by the Azerbaijani authorities while Türkiye and Russia expressed their concerns over the fatal incident.

    Iran’s government also criticised the offensive and announced that the culprit was immediately arrested and put into an interrogation.

    An armed terrorist rushes to the entrance of the embassy of Azerbaijan in Tehran

    Before coming up with a statement about the deadly attack on a diplomatic mission within its borders, the authorities in Tehran should better explain the alarming level of anti-Azerbaijan sentiments in the Islamic Republic which arguably inspired a terrorist to take a machine gun, broke into an embassy building, and shoot all who crossed his way.

    If the Mullahs cannot elucidate their deeply rooted hatred against Azerbaijan, which they have been hiding behind a fake “friendly and good neighbour” mask, we will do it on their behalf.

    Underground Mullah hatred against Azerbaijan

    The Islamic Republic has long been irritated by the existence of an independent, secular, tolerant, multicultural and pluralist Muslim-majority state on its border. Based on the coexistence in certain periods of history, the “men in turban” in the Islamic Republic have been constantly voicing their appetite for incorporating Azerbaijan into their territory. Some even claim that the hardliners in Iran prefer to use the term “Northern Iran” instead of Azerbaijan while referring to their northern neighbours.

    Shortly after Azerbaijan’s regaining its independence from the dissolved Soviet Union in 1991, the supreme spiritual leader of the Mullahs, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, publicly announced that “there should be a well-thought plan” to oust secularism in Azerbaijan and undermine its balanced foreign policy.

    Several reasons could be listed for Iran’s underground enmity with Azerbaijan, including the latter’s struggle against the Mullahs’ attempts for forcible, self-styled Islamic export; Baku’s close alliance with Ankara, whom Tehran sees as its rival in the Middle East; the tension between Azerbaijan and Iran’s close regional ally Armenia, and the strategic relationship between Baku and Tehran’s arch-rival Tel Aviv.

    Based on the abovementioned factors, the plan suggested by Khamenei has long been put into motion. One of the most crystal-clear insidious anti-Azerbaijan moves of Iran came in 2001 when Iran’s coast guard illegally stopped three vessels of bp from exploring oilfields in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea. The incident later served as a pretext for the Iranian air force to violate Azerbaijan’s airspace by chasing the ships back on their way to the Absheron peninsula coasts. Simultaneously with the airspace violation, Tehran announced that the portion of the Caspian Sea explored by the bp vessels belonged to Iran and Azerbaijan had to either “willingly concede” it or the Islamic Republic would take it forcibly. The tensions eased after the Turkish Air Force sent its combat aircraft to Azerbaijan in a muscle show that demonstrated Azerbaijan was not alone against the evil intentions of the Mullahs.

    The “blunt teeth” of the Mullahs to directly bite Azerbaijan have pushed the theocratic regime to redesign its hatred toward its neighbour by following a racist and discriminatory policy against nearly 30 million of Azerbaijani Turks living within its borders. The northern parts of Iran on the border with Azerbaijan are densely populated with people of the same Turkic origin and identity as Azerbaijanis, who speak the same language peculiar to the South Caucasus country. The city of Tabriz, the capital of the medieval Azerbaijani state of Safavids, is the stronghold of Azerbaijani origin people in Iran. Tehran has long been pursuing an uncompromised approach toward these people.

    They have been deprived of almost all fundamental rights. There is still no single school in the Azerbaijani language in Iran, while, according to 2020 data, there were at least 50 Armenian schools for 200,000 Armenians residing in the Islamic country. Tehran’s government banned all kinds of publications, including newspapers, books, magazines and other papers of the same kind in the Azerbaijani language. Most recently, a new law adopted by the Ministry of Culture of Iran has consolidated the restrictions on books written in Azerbaijani Turkic by forbidding their printing in Iran. The ministry said that in Iran, books must be written in “Iranian Azeri”, not in “Caucasian Turkic”. In other words, the Azerbaijani population of the country must ditch their mother tongue for the misappropriated version of the Azerbaijani language.

    Furthermore, hundreds of Azerbaijani human rights activists, including Fardin Muradpour, Akbar Naimi, Hamid Vahidi, Babek Nematzadeh, Akbar Fathi, Mohsen Musavi and others have been arrested by the Mullah regime in different years, including in 2022. Some of them were reportedly sent to the notorious Evin prison where they have been brutally tortured and even killed. Furthermore, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Basij militants have been seen mercilessly dispersing the ongoing anti-government rallies in the territories populated by the Azerbaijanis. According to civil data, at least 20,000 people in these territories have been arrested by the Mullah regime and dozens of them have been sentenced to death.

    Azerbaijani human rights activist Akbar Naimi

    The anti-Azerbaijan sentiments in Iran shifted gear to the pinnacle after the 2020 Second Karabakh War between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which ended in a landslide victory of Azerbaijan, who liberated its territories from nearly three decades of illegal Armenian occupation, including those on the southern border with Iran. Since then Tehran has not been refraining from direct and indirect attempts to challenge the South Caucasus country.

    In 2021, Azerbaijani media reported that during the 2020 war, Azerbaijan forces advancing toward Zangilan, encountered an Iranian unit that had crossed the border and blocked the road. Back then the authorities of the Islamic Republic claimed that the troops were deployed there “to safeguard” the Khudafarin dam on the Araz River, which runs along the Iranian-Azerbaijani border. After a day of negotiations, the Iranian military left the territory of Azerbaijan, gaining time for the Armenian forces to regroup.

    Tensions between Baku and Tehran escalated in August 2021 over illegal trips by Iranian lorries to certain parts of Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region, where Russian peacekeepers are temporarily deployed. As a result, Azerbaijan’s customs officials began collecting fees from Iranian cargo lorries to use the Azerbaijani section of the road between Armenia’s towns of Gafan and Gorus. In response to this, Iran kicked off military drills on the border with Azerbaijan and accused Baku of allowing Israeli forces on Azerbaijani soil.

    A lorry from Iran illegally  enters the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan

    In 2021 and 2022, Tehran conducted large-scale military drills in the country’s northwestern areas along the Araz River on the border with Azerbaijan. Such military rehearsals have not been seen during Armenia’s occupation of Azerbaijani lands for nearly 30 years when Armenians were said to launch routes for arms and drug smuggling to European countries. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian revealed Tehran's “ache” that intensified following Azerbaijan’s victory in 2020. The Mullahs are convinced that Azerbaijan has brought the Israeli military to the border whereas the agreement between Baku and Tel Aviv was for the construction of a buffalo farm with Israeli investments in the Zangilan district.

    A photo from the Iranian military's military drills on the border with Azerbaijan

    Meanwhile, on November 1 the State Security Service of Azerbaijan exposed a clandestine group of Azerbaijani citizens that were illegally involved in military exercises outside the country under direct financing and guidance by the Iranian special services. On November 15, the State Security Service exposed a spy network of Azerbaijani citizens recruited on a paid basis by the Iranian special services to collect data about Azerbaijan’s oil and gas pipelines, the storage locations of the drones, tanks, and other armoured equipment of the Azerbaijani army and State Border Service, political processes, military units, their locations, and assignments in the country and more.

    On December 1, 2022, illegal visitors from the Islamic Republic were revealed to travel to the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. Some 14 people from Iran, of which 12 of which were from the country’s southwestern city of Izhe in the Khuzestan region, which is known for its ethnic diversity and inhabited by many different ethnic minorities, including Armenians, were confirmed to infiltrate into the Azerbaijani lands. According to available data, they were sent to conduct sabotage and terrorist exercises for armed Armenian gangs who are still present in the Azerbaijani territories temporarily monitored by the Russian peacekeepers.

    In the same month, the Iranian military disseminated video footage from the Khudafarin bridge on the border with Azerbaijan to threaten its neighbour and Israel. The children in military uniforms in the video sang “don’t go to the bad, don’t dig your grave with your own hands, this must be known by Azerbaijan” in a clear message of threat to Baku over its alliance with Tel Aviv, whom the children warned in the same video: “open your eyes, it is Iran, mighty Iran”.

    A pending apology

    The terrorist attack on the Azerbaijani embassy in Iran today has already had its implications on the already tense relations between Baku and Tehran. Iran’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan Seyid Abbas Mousavi was summoned to the Foreign Ministry where he was demanded to urge Tehran’s government to promptly bring to justice the person who committed the terrorist act, conduct a thorough investigation, identify and punish other participants involved in the organization and commission of the crime. The ministry also conveyed the fact that a systematic anti-Azerbaijani campaign has been carried out in Iran, which further exacerbates the already strained mutual ties.

    A staff member of the Azerbaijani embassy tries to stop the armed terrorist

    Before the ministry, President Ilham Aliyev condemned the terrorist attack and demanded immediate investigation and punishment of the culprit. There is still no high-level reaction to the deadly incident from the Iranian authorities except Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanaani’s statement to denounce it.

    In the meantime, Caliber.Az obtained information from reliable sources that the special services of Iran have masterminded the terrorist attack on the Azerbaijani embassy. Thus, the IRGC press service announced shortly after the offensive that the “family affairs” of the culprit, who entered the embassy “with his children” to “take his wife who was kept at the embassy”, was behind the incident. However, footage from surveillance cameras inside and outside the embassy’s building revealed that he was alone and there was no family member of him inside the building. One more interesting moment was the inaction of the officer at the guard booth who did not take any preventive measures despite seeing an armed man hastily heading towards the embassy’s entrance.  

    Meanwhile, the events in Tehran spin the arrow to similar events in the UK’s capital London in August 2022. Back then Shia radicals from the “Servants of Mahdi” extremist organization stormed the Azerbaijani embassy to chant death to “secular Azerbaijan”. Since Iran is a conservative Shia country and legitimizes its regime with Mahdi, the thirteenth Islamic Imam who is expected to arrive and take control over the Islamic world, and believes that until his return, a “knowledgeable jurist” or Islamic Republic’s Khamenei must rule the people, the footprints of Mullahs could also be traced in the London attack.

    So, the general portrait of today’s terrorist attack proves it is the outcome of Iran’s intensively heating anti-Azerbaijan temper. Now, Tehran has two options to decide the future of its relations with Azerbaijan: Mullahs should either cover up the fatal event by putting the responsibility on an “ill-minded psycho” or a radical extremist group, a practice that has been widely seen in Tehran’s plate or apologize to the state and people of Azerbaijan.

    We think smart brains around spiritual leader Khamenei should think thoroughly and advise him to go for the second option …


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