An attack at a guard post outside the Azerbaijan embassy in Tehran, Iran has left one person dead and two wounded. The Azerbaijani foreign ministry stated that the attacker, who used a Kalashnikov assault rifle, broke through the guard post and killed the head of security. The motive for the attack is currently unknown.
Azerbaijan on Friday said it was evacuating staff from its embassy in Tehran, blaming Iran for an armed attack in which the head of security was killed and two guards wounded.
This incident at the Azerbaijan embassy in Iran occurred two weeks after Azerbaijan appointed its first ambassador to Israel, amid escalating tensions with Iran. President Ilham Aliyev appointed Mukhtar Mammadov, a veteran official who has held posts in the foreign and education ministries, as Baku’s first envoy to Israel. Israel has had an embassy in Baku since the early 1990s and has been a significant military backer of Azerbaijan in recent years, including diplomatic support for Baku in its stand-off with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Azerbaijan also supplies around 40% of Israel’s oil imports. Both President Aliyev and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have praised the strong relations between their countries.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian last year accused Israel of establishing a military presence and secret alliance with Azerbaijan. Baku rejected the claims, but Iran mounted large-scale military exercises along the border with Azerbaijan. President Aliyev responded by posing for photographs with Israeli kamikaze drones, which are manufactured in Azerbaijan.
Iran and Azerbaijan have a complex relationship prior to the attack on the embassy. Historically, the two countries have had cultural and linguistic ties, but they have also had disputes over border disputes, water resources and ethnic conflicts. Recently, the relationship has been strained by Azerbaijan’s close ties with Israel, which is viewed as an enemy by Iran. Also, the appointment of Azerbaijan’s first ambassador to Israel has added more tension to the relationship. Additionally, Iran has accused Israel of establishing a military presence and secret alliance with Azerbaijan, which has been rejected by Azerbaijan. The relationship has been further complicated by the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which pits Azerbaijan against Armenia, a country that has close ties with Iran. Overall, while there are areas of cooperation between the two countries, the relationship has been strained by a number of factors in recent years.