Gunman Enters Azerbaijan Embassy in Tehran with Kalashnikov Rifle, Kills Security Chief

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The security chief at Azerbaijan's Iran embassy was killed in an attack on Friday morning. Two others were injured in the attack on the embassy in Tehran.

According to Iran's police chief, the assailant attacked a staffer at the parking lot in front of the embassy's entrance before entering the premises. The attacker was armed with a Kalashnikov rifle and he shot and killed the security chief.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said the embassy attack was a act of terror. "Terror against diplomatic missions is unacceptable!" he tweeted.

Azerbaijan embassy in the US
Azerbaijan embassy in the US - Representational Wikimedia Commons

Azerbaijan squarely blamed Iran for the attack, saying Tehran failed to give protection to the diplomatic mission. "The attacker broke through the guard post, killing the head of security with a Kalashnikov assault rifle ... All responsibility for the attack lies with Iran," a spokesman for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said, according to DW.

Iranian official said the attacker was arrested by the police while he was trying to escape.

Azerbaijan doubled down on its claim that Iranian lapses led to the attack. "... Measures to prevent such situations and to ensure the safety of our diplomatic missions have been constantly raised before Iran," the ministry said, citing previous security breaches. This attack demonstrates the 'serious consequences of not showing proper sensitivity to our urgent appeals in this direction,' it said.

However, Iran played down the embassy attack, saying it was the result of a personal grudge. It cited footage that showed the assailant entering the premises with two small children.

Iran-Azerbaijan Relations

Azerbaijan and Iran share a border and are both Islamic countries but the relations have been cold. Azerbaijan is a close ally of Turkey, which is Iran's main challenger for dominance in the Islamic world. On its part, Iran is a close friend of Armenia, with whom Azerbaijan has had tense relations over territory in the past several decades. The relations between the two countries are further complicated by the fact that millions of Azeri people live in Iran. Making matters complex, Azerbaijan also shares close ties to Israel, the arch-nemesis of Iran.

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This article was first published on January 27, 2023