Diplomat killed in terror attack in Azerbaijan embassy in Tehran
Tehran suggests the motive of the attack to be “totally personal”
Tehran/Baku/Washington/New York: In an armed attack that took place on the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Tehran on January 27, 2023, at around 8:00 am local time (8.30 am Baku time), the attacker destroyed the guard post with a Kalashnikov automatic weapon and killed the head of the security service. Two security guards of the embassy were also wounded while preventing the attack. Their condition is satisfactory, the Azerbaijan foreign office stated.
Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev called for a prompt investigation and Washington stepped in to support his call for a probe “into this unacceptable violence”.
Asserting that any attack against diplomats or diplomatic facilities anywhere is unacceptable, Ned Price, the United States State Department Spokesperson, reminded the Government of Iran of its responsibility under the Geneva Convention to protect foreign diplomats in Iran.
In New York, Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the United Nations Secretary-General, emphasized that attacks against diplomatic missions are strictly prohibited under international law. “In particular, we recall the principle of the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises and the obligations of host Governments, including under the 1961 Convention on Diplomatic Relations and under the 1963 Convention on Consular Relations, to take all appropriate steps to protect diplomatic and consular premises against any intrusion or damage, and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of these missions or impairment of their dignity, Dujarric said.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian held a telephone conversation with his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov to condemn the armed attack. He expressed regret at the incident and offered condolences to the Azerbaijani foreign minister and the family of the deceased diplomat, and also warned that the “enemies” of the two countries could take advantage of this incident, saying Baku and Tehran should not let their ties be affected by the attack.
The Iranian foreign minister also proposed that the security authorities of Iran and Azerbaijan pursue and look into the attack in close cooperation to shed light on all aspects of the incident.
Azerbaijan’s foreign minister welcomed Amirabdollahian’s proposal that the security authorities of Iran and Azerbaijan as well as their judicial officials work together to get to the bottom of the incident.
During the conversation, Amirabdollahian further extended Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s regret and sympathies to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, the government and the people of Azerbaijan and particularly the families of those killed and injured. Bayramov for his part thanked the Iranian president for offering condolences over the incident.
Noting that the Iranian authorities “quickly” launched an investigation, Dujarric hoped perpetrators or the perpetrator will be held to account.
Iran, meanwhile, claimed preliminary evidence and observations revealed that the attacker opened fire near the diplomatic mission with a “totally personal” motive. It said judicial and security processes were underway to shed light on the attacker’s personal motive.
However, Azerbaijan “strongly” condemned the “treacherous terror attack” and accused Tehran of failing in its obligations to ensure the security of the embassy and the safety of its employees under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. “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. Unfortunately, the last bloody terror attack demonstrates the serious consequences of not showing proper sensitivity to our urgent appeals in this direction,” an official release by the Azerbaijan Ministry of foreign affairs stated.
Azerbaijan demanded Iran to identify and punish the perpetrators of the attack, as well as the instigators of the bloody act as soon as possible “in the most severe manner”, and stated the Azerbaijani side will use all the opportunities given by the relevant international mechanisms in order to identify the perpetrators and ensure a corresponding punishment.
“We are of the opinion that the recent anti-Azerbaijani campaign against our country in Iran led to such an attack against our diplomatic mission,” an official release by the Azerbaijan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, adding that it was taking appropriate measures to evacuate the employees of the Embassy, and their family members, in the current situation resulting from the terrorist attack.
A spokesman for the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nasser Kanaani strongly condemned the armed action at the entrance of the Azerbaijan embassy in Tehran, which claimed one life. Noting that Iranian security and law enforcement forces “intervened quickly” and arrested the attacker, who is currently being investigated, he stated that “upon the order of special political and security authorities, the case is under investigation as a priority and with high sensitivity so that the aspects of this act and the motive will come to light”.
Kanaani claimed initial investigations by relevant officials and bodies indicated that a “personal motive” was behind the action. He advised the media outlets to avoid releasing “inauthentic news or speculation” on the case given the swift intervention of the concerned security and judicial institutions. “More precise information will be released following the conclusion of the probe,” the spokesman added.
In the meantime, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian held talks with the country’s Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi to discuss the shooting incident in Tehran as well as the assailant’s motive and objectives. Thereafter, Tehran assured that necessary security measures were taken so that the activities of Azerbaijan’s Embassy and diplomats in Tehran returned to normal.
– global bihari bureau