| 19 April 2024, Friday |

Azerbaijan strongly protests to Iran after fatal embassy shooting

A security officer was shot killed and two others were injured at the Azerbaijani embassy in Iran on Friday. Baku called the shooting a “act of terrorism,” alleging that Tehran ignored its requests for increased security.

Iranian authorities condemned the attack and claimed the gunman looked to have had a personal, not a political, purpose, however Tehran police announced they had detained a suspect.

The incident comes amid increased tensions between the two neighbouring countries over Iran’s treatment of its large ethnic Azeri minority and over Azerbaijan’s decision this month to appoint its first ever ambassador to Israel.

“The attacker broke through the guard post, killing the head of security with a Kalashnikov assault rifle,” Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry said.

CCTV footage obtained by Reuters showed the attacker forcing his way into the building and shooting at two men before a third embassy employee grapples him away.

A grey-haired man identified as the attacker was later shown on Iranian state TV saying he had acted to secure the release of his Azeri wife who he believed was being held at the embassy.

A young woman identified as the man’s daughter said her mother was in Azerbaijan. “My mother is not in the embassy, and I told him that, but he did not accept that,” she said.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi called for “a comprehensive investigation” of the incident and sent his condolences to Azerbaijan and the dead man’s family, Iranian state media said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, quoted on a government site, said that based on evidence and initial observations the gunman’s motive was “completely personal”.

“Necessary security measures have been taken to continue normal activities at the embassy and diplomats of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Tehran,” he said.

  • Reuters