Irano-Armenian political strategist in the heart of Brussels
    Eldar Lankaransky's dark deeds in European Parliament

    ANALYTICS  08 August 2022 - 10:12

    Huseyn Safarov

    That's the way the world wags: success always attracts not only new friends but also ill-wishers. Perhaps this axiom works not only for individuals but even for entire states. In any case, for several years now the diplomatic, economic, military, and political success of Azerbaijan has been a source of anxiety for individuals indifferent to the well-being of others.

    Unfortunately, Baku has many enemies in the international arena - from a number of US congressmen, MEPs, and Duma deputies, sponsored by the Armenian lobby, to all kinds of "experts" in the international media, and NGOs, think tanks, and political parties. There are many reasons for this - the extensive Armenian diaspora, the shortcomings of its own diplomacy, and the global interests of powers in the South Caucasus. Unfortunately, the anti-Azerbaijani and anti-Turkish "guard", supported by financial injections, includes ethnic Azerbaijanis, among others.

    The latter include an expert on Iran, political scientist Eldar Mammadov, whose family originates in the glorious Azerbaijani region – Lankaran. Mammadov (Mammadovs according to the passport), was born December 13, 1972, in Riga, Latvia. He studied there, worked in the banking sector in Latvia, and managed the office of Parex Bank in Azerbaijan. He served at the Latvian Foreign Ministry and at its embassy in Spain and the USA. Mammadov's diplomatic career was a springboard to his subsequent employment in Brussels in 2007, where he now lives and works as a political advisor to the Social Democrat group in the European Parliament. According to Caliber.Az, he is currently single, and his ex-wife, Natalia Sisoeva, is an assistant to MP A. Ameriks.

    For many years, Mammadov has been systematically writing articles and publications aimed at discrediting Azerbaijan in the West and preventing its rapprochement with Brussels and Washington. He posts his materials on social networks and on a number of foreign resources and expert blogs, which are mostly read by the academic and political science community. Azerbaijan has been in his field of interest for a long time. Back in 2010, the Hurriyet daily news published his article "Black Days of Freedom in Azerbaijan and Türkiye," where accusations against official Baku and Ankara were voiced under the human rights context. Ten years later, on October 2, 2020, in "The American Conservative" he labeled the counteroffensive operation of Baku to liberate the territories occupied by Armenians as "the assault of Azerbaijan". The article also contained allegations of Türkiye's support for Azerbaijan by allegedly sending Syrian fighters to the war zone.

    Since Eldar Mammadov is not an ordinary Twitter troll, but a man of an analytical mind, and even working in the European Parliament, we decided to examine the motives of his journalistic activities in more detail. During our little journalistic investigation we managed to establish that on June 22-25, 2007 Mammadov visited the Islamic Republic of Iran. There, presumably, he met and formed long-term cooperation with the Iranian party, which kept Mammadov in sight even during his diplomatic service in the Latvian Foreign Ministry. It is noteworthy that that short trip to Iran coincided with Eldar Mammadov's employment in the European Parliament. Since then the Iranians have had another "supporter" in Brussels, whose activities are activated or put into "hibernation" depending on the expediency of foreign policy. Sometimes it took a comical turn. For a long time, Mammadov positioned himself as an ardent liberal and, accordingly, an opponent of the Iranian government. But at the same time, he was repeatedly seen in the IRI embassy in Belgium - in particular in 2010 and 2012, at the peak of the US-Iranian crisis. It is possible that he went to defend liberal values.

    Let's come back from history to today. Simultaneously with the famous flash mob of the Israeli ambassador George Deek with "Tales of Tabriz", Mammadov decided to please the Iranian "partners" by spreading posts about the "Persian" origin of Nizami Ganjavi:


    So it is not surprising that in 2018 the Iranian diplomatic mission in Brussels turned to Mammadov to organize a lobbying effort to support the "nuclear deal" that Donald Trump broke and to launch active Iranian lobbying in the European Parliament. The Iranians spare no expense to promote their own interests, and the contacts built up have been activated. In European diplomatic circles, it is no secret that today Mammadov has become the main "coach" for Iranian diplomats in Belgium and personally prepares theses and narratives for their communication with European politicians. Mammadov also mediates contact between Iran and European think tanks such as the Center for European Policy Studies (CEPS). He does not neglect his work with political foundations. For example, several years ago Mammadov organized private discussions with Iranian and European representatives at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Brussels. And in the leading European media, he floats targeted talking points (often under the nominal authorship of his acquaintances) for his secret employers to influence public opinion, experts, and politicians to renegotiate the "nuclear deal" on terms favorable to Iran.

    However, let's take a look at the publications of our pseudo-countryman devoted to Azerbaijan. One of Mammadov's articles, published on Friedrich Ebert Foundation's website on May 27, 2021, is called "Why Azerbaijan does not criticize Israel". In his analyses, he promotes information that cannot be found in any serious source, that Azerbaijan allegedly provides Israel with a springboard for intelligence activities against Iran.

    In July 22, 2020 piece in Responsible Statecraft, Mammadov urges Azerbaijan to be vigilant and not to allow extra-regional anti-Iranian programs to manipulate itself. Familiar rhetoric, isn't it? It feels like Mammadov was possessed by an IRGC brigadier general while writing the article.

    Mammadov is also actively promoting curious theses in social networks, which are already in tune with Armenian attitudes. One of his recent Twitter posts reads that "EU's reliance on Azerbaijan as a serious alternative to the Russian gas is short-sighted and unrealistic." I wonder who is so concerned about the gas deal between Azerbaijan and the EU...

    Overall, it is noteworthy that in recent years Mammadov has already openly begun to support the Armenian side. Perhaps, this is included in the total amount of Iranian fees, who knows? On social media, Eldar shares anti-Azerbaijani posts of Armenian Twitter activists. In one of his reposts, he even thanks an Armenian agitator for commenting on his post criticizing the Azerbaijani leadership and the "illiberal" opposition:


    It is possible that his lucrative friendship with Iran inspired Eldar Mammadov to love Armenian content, and in a positive way. Well, he has enough sponsors there, too. And since appetite comes with food, we can assume that Eldar Mammadov will not stop there. After all, who cares where it comes from? Money is money!


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