Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Fatal Shooting at Azerbaijan Embassy in Iran Raises Tensions
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 1 year ago on
January 27, 2023

Share

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

A gunman stormed the Azerbaijan Embassy in Iran’s capital Friday, killing its security chief and wounding two guards in an attack that spiked long-simmering tensions between the two neighboring countries.

Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry said it would evacuate the diplomatic post, accusing Iran of not taking reported threats against it seriously in the past that include inciting comments in hard-line media over Azerbaijan’s diplomatic ties to Israel.

Tehran’s police chief, Gen. Hossein Rahimi, initially blamed the attack on “personal and family problems,” something quickly repeated across Iranian state media. But within hours Rahimi would lose his position as police chief after footage emerged that appeared to show a security force member doing nothing to stop the 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,” the Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry said. “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 added.

Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev called the assault a “terrorist attack.” He identified the dead security chief as 1st Lt. Orkhan Rizvan Oglu Askarov.

“We demand that this terrorist act be swiftly investigated and the terrorists punished,” Aliyev said in a statement. “Terror against diplomatic missions is unacceptable!”

The attack happened Friday morning, the second day of the Iranian weekend. Surveillance video released in Azerbaijan purportedly showed the gunman arriving by car at the embassy, running into the back of another car parked out front. He exited his car, holding what appeared to be a Kalashnikov-style rifle.

From there, details immediately conflict with the Iranian account of the attack.

Gunman Appeared to Act Alone

Iranian state TV had quoted Rahimi as saying the gunman had entered the embassy with his two children during the attack. However, surveillance footage from inside the embassy, which matched details of the aftermath and bore a timestamp matching the Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry’s statement, showed the gunman burst through the embassy’s doors alone.

Those inside tried to push through metal detectors to take cover. The man opens fire with the rifle, its muzzle flashing, as he chases after the men into the small side office. Another man bursts from a side door and fights the gunman for the rifle as the footage ends.

Another surveillance video from outside the embassy, which also corresponded to the same details, showed the gunman slam his car into another in front of the embassy. The gunman then got out and leveled his rifle at a figure inside of the Iranian police stand, likely a security force member, who stood still and did nothing as the man stormed the embassy.

Video of the aftermath showed an empty diplomatic police post just near the embassy, with one man apparently wounded in an SUV parked outside. Inside the embassy past a metal detector, paramedics stood over what appeared to be a lifeless body in a small office as blood pooled on the floor beneath.

Associated Press journalists later saw the embassy’s front door pocked with bullet holes after the attack.

Iranian prosecutor Mohammad Shahriari reportedly said the gunman’s wife had disappeared in April after a visit to the embassy. The Iranian judiciary’s Mizan news agency quoted Shahriari as saying the gunman believed his wife was still in the diplomatic post at the time of the attack — even though it was some eight months later.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani also said his country strongly condemned the attack, which was under investigation with “high priority and sensitivity.” Azerbaijan also summoned Iran’s ambassador there to lodge a protest over the attack as authorities replaced Rahimi, Tehran’s police chief, without offering an explanation.

Azerbaijan borders Iran’s northwest and belonged to the Persian Empire until the early 19th century. Ethnic Azeris also number over 12 million people in Iran and represent the Islamic Republic’s largest minority group — making maintaining good relations even more important for Tehran.

There have been tensions between the two countries as Azerbaijan and Armenia have fought over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Iran also wants to maintain its 44-kilometer (27-mile) border with landlocked Armenia — something that could be threatened if Azerbaijan seizes new territory through warfare.

Iran in October launched a military exercise near the Azerbaijan border, flexing its martial might amid the nationwide protests rocking the Islamic Republic. Azerbaijan also maintains close ties to Israel, which Tehran views as its top regional enemy. The Islamic Republic and Israel are locked in an ongoing shadow war as Iran’s nuclear program rapidly enriches uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels. Israel also offered its condolences to Azerbaijan over the attack.

Turkey, which has close ties to Azerbaijan, condemned the attack, called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice and for measures to be put in place to prevent similar attacks in the future. Turkey has backed Azerbaijan against Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.

“Turkey, which has been subjected to similar attacks in the past, deeply shares the pain of the Azerbaijani people,” a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement said. “Brotherly Azerbaijan is not alone. Our support to Azerbaijan will continue without interruption, as it always has.”

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Paul McCartney Becomes Britain’s First Billionaire Musician

DON'T MISS

California Cracked Down After a Crash Killed 13 Farmworkers. Why Are Workers Still Dying on the Road?

DON'T MISS

These Rare Chainsaws Are Worth Big Bucks to Collectors

DON'T MISS

Jewish Lobby Presses California Lawmakers to Combat Antisemitism

DON'T MISS

Opinion: How Urban Renewal Ruined Everything

DON'T MISS

California Wine Squeezed Dry: Insiders Say It’s Time to Pull up Acreage

DON'T MISS

Alabama Mercedes Employees Overwhelmingly Vote Against Joining Union, Slowing UAW Effort in South

DON'T MISS

Stock Market Today: Dow Finishes Above 40,000 to Cap Wall Street’s Latest Winning Week

DON'T MISS

Where Do State Lawmakers Stand on War in Gaza, Campus Protests?

DON'T MISS

High-Speed Rail Now Working to Extend Valley Line to 171 Miles

UP NEXT

Israel Denies Genocide Charges, Asserts Efforts to Protect Gaza Civilians

UP NEXT

Massive Ukrainian Drone Attack on Crimea Causes Power Cutoffs in Sevastopol

UP NEXT

Report: Child Migrant Arrivals in Italian City Double

UP NEXT

Palestinian Voices Echo Painful Gaza War History as Nakba is Remembered

UP NEXT

Rep. Matt Gaetz Echoes Proud Boys’ Language at Trump’s Court Appearance

UP NEXT

Ukraine Says It Has Checked Russia’s Offensive in a Key Town, But Moscow Says It Will Keep Pushing

UP NEXT

Slovak Authorities Charge ‘Lone Wolf’ in Assassination Attempt on Prime Minister

UP NEXT

US Military Says Gaza Pier Project is Complete and Aid Will Soon Flow as Israel-Hamas War Rages

UP NEXT

UN’s Top Court Opens Hearings on the Israeli Military’s Incursion into Rafah

UP NEXT

The US Is Wrapping up a Pier to Bring Aid to Gaza by Sea. But Danger and Uncertainty Lie Ahead

Jewish Lobby Presses California Lawmakers to Combat Antisemitism

2 days ago

Opinion: How Urban Renewal Ruined Everything

2 days ago

California Wine Squeezed Dry: Insiders Say It’s Time to Pull up Acreage

2 days ago

Alabama Mercedes Employees Overwhelmingly Vote Against Joining Union, Slowing UAW Effort in South

2 days ago

Stock Market Today: Dow Finishes Above 40,000 to Cap Wall Street’s Latest Winning Week

2 days ago

Where Do State Lawmakers Stand on War in Gaza, Campus Protests?

2 days ago

High-Speed Rail Now Working to Extend Valley Line to 171 Miles

2 days ago

Beautify Fresno Combines Dog Adoption, Litter Removal in Unique Saturday Event

2 days ago

Bulldogs’ Gilmore Named MW Softball Pitcher of the Year

2 days ago

The Latest | Dozens of Israeli Protesters Attack a Truck in an Apparent Effort to Block Gaza Aid

2 days ago

Paul McCartney Becomes Britain’s First Billionaire Musician

LONDON — Paul McCartney is a billionaire Beatle. According to figures released Friday, the former member of the Fab Four is the first Britis...

1 day ago

1 day ago

Paul McCartney Becomes Britain’s First Billionaire Musician

1 day ago

California Cracked Down After a Crash Killed 13 Farmworkers. Why Are Workers Still Dying on the Road?

1 day ago

These Rare Chainsaws Are Worth Big Bucks to Collectors

2 days ago

Jewish Lobby Presses California Lawmakers to Combat Antisemitism

2 days ago

Opinion: How Urban Renewal Ruined Everything

2 days ago

California Wine Squeezed Dry: Insiders Say It’s Time to Pull up Acreage

2 days ago

Alabama Mercedes Employees Overwhelmingly Vote Against Joining Union, Slowing UAW Effort in South

2 days ago

Stock Market Today: Dow Finishes Above 40,000 to Cap Wall Street’s Latest Winning Week

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend