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Deadly Attack on Azerbaijani Embassy in Iran Leaves One Dead, Two Injured

By Nigar Bayramli January 27, 2023

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An attacker broke through the guard post at Azerbaijan's embassy in Tehran and killed the head of security / Majid Asgaripour / WANA via Reuters

An armed attack on the Azerbaijani embassy in Tehran on the morning of January 27 left one dead and two injured.

“On January 27, 2023, at about 8:30 Baku time (GMT+4), an armed attack was carried out on the Azerbaijani embassy in the Islamic Republic of Iran. A man armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle broke through the security post, killed the head of the security service of the embassy, Asgarov Orkhan Rizvan oglu, and wounded two more security officers. The embassy staff managed to disarm the criminal,” reads a statement issued by Azerbaijan’s State Security Service.

A criminal case has already been launched into the fact of the terrorist attack, and the Azerbaijani government plans to evacuate the embassy’s employees in a short time.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev condemned the attack, saying that “we demand this terror act be investigated and the terrorists punished soon.”

According to Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry, an armed attack was provoked by the anti-Azerbaijani campaign conducted in Iran. 

“As the country where the embassy is located, the Iranian side had to fulfill its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to ensure the security of the embassy and safety of its employees,” the ministry said in a statement.

“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. We are of the opinion that the recent anti-Azerbaijani campaign against our country in Iran led to such attack against our diplomatic mission,” it added.

Shortly after the attack, Iranian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Seyyed Abbas Mousavi was summoned to Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry. Mousavi, harshly condemning the attack, expressed deep regret over the incident, as well as his deep condolences to the family of the deceased embassy employee, the government, and the people of Azerbaijan.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić, and dozens of foreign ministries and embassies also condemned the attack.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi ordered a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances of the armed attack. His administration condemned the incident and expressed condolences to the relatives of the deceased employee of the diplomatic mission, according to the Fars news agency.

Earlier, Tehran Police Chief Hussain Rahimi said the attacker entered the embassy with two children and the attack was motivated by family problems and personal motives. However, a video footage recorded by the embassy’s surveillance cameras shows the terrorist approaching the Azerbaijani diplomatic corps in a car with no children in it.

Rahimi was dismissed on the same day following the attack on Azerbaijan’s embassy in Tehran.

According to some media reports, the attacker, Iranian national Yasin Hosseinzadeh, is said to be linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). The goal of the gunman was reportedly to kill all the embassy staff and their family members who live in the same building. The other media, in turn, claimed that the Iranian special services were behind the attack.

Relations between Iran and Azerbaijan have strained in recent years over a number of issues, including Azerbaijan’s relations with Israel, Iran's large-scale military drills near Azerbaijani borders and its growing support for Armenia.

In August 2022, the Shiite radicals from the Iranian-backed “Servants of Mahdi” extremist organization stormed the Azerbaijani embassy in the UK’s capital London, chanting death to “secular Azerbaijan.”