Contemporary Iran is a malicious carbuncle on the face of humanity
    Contemplations with Orkhan

    ANALYTICS  31 January 2023 - 10:05

    Orkhan Amashov

    On 27 January, Friday last week, a horrifically horrendous and lethal attack took place against the Azerbaijani Embassy in Tehran. At around 8 am local time, a gunman, equipped with an AK-47 assault rifle, abruptly stopped his car in front of the embassy building, crashing it into the vehicle of the diplomatic mission, left the car, passed through the security post, with an officer posted therein by the Iranian government doing nothing visibly practical to stop him – perhaps out of fear, or due to incompetence - or possibly because of complicity, as I am far away from prejudgment.

    Then the assailant entered the premises, hastily following two Embassy staff, and eventually, fired at them, fatally wounding the chief of security, Orkhan Asgarov, and injuring the other two guards inside. Had it not been for the heroic efforts of Vasif Taghiyev, another member of the security staff, the attacker would have penetrated further into the interior of the embassy, murdering other members of the diplomatic mission en masse.

    The trappings of a terrorist attack are clearly there, as far as one can ascertain from the CCTV footage in the public domain. Criminal investigations have been allegedly launched in Iran and most certainly been initiated in Azerbaijan.

    The question is what is the real story behind this heinous attack? Tehran’s now-dismissed chief of police, Brigadier-General Hossein Rahimi, was quick to issue a hasty explanation, claiming that the perpetrator was driven by family-related motives, arriving at the embassy with his two children with the purpose of retrieving his wife allegedly kept hostage in the premises. This account lost its credibility very quickly due to the CCTV footage revealing a completely different picture, with Hossein Rahimi losing his post, evidently for his blatant cock-up. There was another even more deceitful version that engulfed the Iranian media right after the attack, suggesting that the perpetrator was Armenian. It later emerged the gunman is an Iranian citizen named Yasin Huseynzadeh.

    Tehran continues its attempts to reshape the narrative along the family context, with multiple interviews taken from the assailant by the local media drawing on a picture of personal motives. These visibly deliberate efforts are not confidence-inducing; in fact, they appear to be a continuation of the earlier miserable attempts at engineering a shabby cover-up.

    What is abundantly clear and does not require any thorough investigation to determine is that Iran has manifestly failed to fulfil its international obligations in line with the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Article 22 of the Convention states that “the Receiving State is under a special duty to protect the premises of the mission from intrusion, damage, disturbance of the peace and impairment of its dignity”. Given that the Azerbaijani Embassy in Tehran had been threatened a couple of times before the recent assault, and Baku had repeatedly urged the Iranian authorities to ensure the necessary precautions and appreciate the sensitivity of its requests, one cannot help but conclude that, at least, the Receiving State, in this particular instance, failed to observe the minimum degree of diligence.

    We cannot even be sure that Iran inadvertently failed to fulfil its duty, for the Islamic Republic is an entity with a terrifying past. This comprises a multitude of stories of various attacks on foreign diplomatic missions, both inside and outside its boundaries. The probability of the complicity of Iranian special services in this terrifying affair remains very probable. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has never made any bones of its militant nature and modus operandi, with its recorded dastardly deeds across the globe speaking for themselves.

    It should not also be overlooked that the attack took place on Holocaust Remembrance Day, and shortly after the opening of the Azerbaijani embassy in Israel, the nation Iran considers its arch-enemy. Perhaps it should also behove one to recall that, on the self-same day, a terrorist attack took place near a synagogue in Jerusalem, resulting in the death of seven persons. I am not suggesting these coincidences alone should form the basis of argument, but it is undoubtedly the case that they make one wonder.

    There are those who have expressed a view that, at this juncture, it could not have been within the best interests of Iran to plot and execute such an attack, for there had been serious bilateral attempts to normalise Azerbaijani-Iranian relations, and, consequently, this was the last thing Tehran needed. This sounds like a logical proposition. But common sense is not exactly the first consideration that comes to one’s mind when one tries to see into the Islamic Republic’s motives. Iran is a pariah state, operating on multiple levels. It is not unheard of for Tehran to combine diplomatic negotiations on one side and perpetrate kidnappings and terrorist attacks on the other with the same nation.

    Tehran is capable of unbounded hypocrisy. One very good example is Iran’s former foreign minister, Javad Zarif, who is a very intelligent, suave, emollient man, and a top-notch diplomat, without a shadow of a doubt.  Recall his countenance whilst responding to tough questions from Western journalists. When asked about the atrocities committed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in different parts of the world, he used to smile, deny accusations, plead ignorance and quickly issue counterclaims with rustic and well-versed ease. He was great at defending the indefensible, being an ultimate example of “treachery with a smile on its face”, if one may borrow from the late Dame Margaret Thatcher. He was the civilised face of the uncivilised regime. Iran most certainly needs more diplomats like him.

    Back to the point about defending the indefensible; it could be achieved successfully in the short-term, but not indefinitely. By and large, beyond the specific context of the latest attack on the Azerbaijani embassy in Tehran, one moment remains more or less clear.  Contemporary Iran is evidently a malicious carbuncle on the face of humanity. We all know what happens to carbuncles sooner or later. The self-same end, if some magical transmogrification does not happen, awaits the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is, by the way, neither Islamic nor a republic. And Iran, as a geographical entity, is more than Persia.


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