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Baku Outraged After Deadly Shooting At Azerbaijan's Embassy In Tehran

January 27, 2023
2 min read
Baku Outraged After Deadly Shooting At Azerbaijan's Embassy In Tehran
Baku Outraged After Deadly Shooting At Azerbaijan's Embassy In Tehran
Baku Outraged After Deadly Shooting At Azerbaijan's Embassy In Tehran
Baku Outraged After Deadly Shooting At Azerbaijan's Embassy In Tehran

A man armed with an automatic assault rifle has raided Azerbaijan’s Embassy in Tehran, killing the head of security at the diplomatic post and wounding two guards, officials say, in an attack that heightened simmering tensions between the two neighboring countries.

Baku blamed the Islamic Republic for the January 27 assault, which it called an “act of terrorism," and announced it was evacuating its diplomatic mission.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Nasser Kanaani, said the Islamic Republic strongly condemned the assault and that an investigation would proceed with "high priority and sensitivity."

Tehran's police chief, General Hossein Rahimi, said the suspect has been arrested and blamed the attack on "personal and family problems."

According to Rahimi, the gunman entered the embassy with his two children during the assault, but CCTV footage from inside the embassy released in Azerbaijan appeared to show the assailant entering the building alone.

In a video later published by Iran’s Tasnim news agency, the alleged suspect of the attack tells Rahimi that his wife disappeared in April after a visit to the embassy. The man said he believed his wife was still in the embassy at the time of the attack and was not willing to meet him.

Hours after the attack, it was announced that Rahimi was removed from his post. Officials did not provide an explanation for the move.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev demanded a swift investigation and punishment of the attacker, saying, “Terror against diplomatic missions is unacceptable!”

Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry said that an investigation was underway into the “treacherous terrorist attack.”

“Previously, there have been attempts to threaten our diplomatic mission in Iran, and it was constantly raised before Iran to take measures to prevent such cases, and to ensure the safety of our diplomatic missions,” it said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the last bloody terror attack demonstrates the serious consequences of not showing proper sensitivity to our urgent appeals in this direction.”

“We are of the opinion that the recent anti-Azerbaijani campaign against our country in Iran led to such attack against our diplomatic mission,” the ministry also said, adding that it will take “appropriate measures to evacuate the embassy employees and family members.”

Azerbaijani authorities summoned Iran’s ambassador there to lodge a protest over the attack, which comes as tensions have been high for months between Baku and Tehran amid the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

In October, the Islamic Republic launched a military exercise near the Azerbaijani border amid prolonged and still ongoing anti-government protests in Iran. Baku also maintains close ties to Israel, which Tehran considers as its top regional foe.

Ethnic Azeris number more than 12 million people in Iran and represent the country's largest minority group.

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