Iran had been inching towards it for months, trying to navigate the course of events in this direction by announcing Azerbaijan the enemy and voicing open and not-so-much threats. They had been full-on prepping to deal a heavy blow on Azerbaijan for months. It finally happened. An armed break-in into an embassy of a country is a clear declaration of hostility. The Rubicon has been crossed.
Both Eastern and Western diplomacy has been operating on an ancient unbreakable principle of ‘Not shooting the messenger’. A diplomat is untouchable, a principle all civilized nations and countries try to follow. Well, except for Iran, the term ‘civilized’ is not among the adjectives that could describe this country.
The (Ty)Iranian Islamic Republic has laid its very first foundation on an embassy attack. The moment the regime was established, one of its first acts was to seize the US Embassy and detain 66 hostages on 4 November 1979, bringing about the ‘Iran hostage crisis’ which continues to this day in a broader sense.
The Saudi diplomatic missions in Tehran were stormed on 2 January 2016. The attackers had thrown Molotov Cocktail-styled combustible bottles into the embassy and entered the building. Their reasoning was the execution of 47 Shiites, including Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, accused of terrorism in Saudi Arabia.
Recent history demonstrates that Iran’s sick diplomatic thinking sees attacking embassies as an element of political pressure on other countries, whereas it is nothing but terrorism.
About half a year ago, on 4 August 2022, the Azerbaijani embassy in London was attacked by a radical Twelver Shia group called ‘The Mahdi Servants Union’. They lowered the Azerbaijani flag and chanted slogans against our country on the balcony of our embassy. True, there were no facts (or they were unrevealed) that linked the group to Iran, but the fact that the incident coincided with the rise of Iran’s political-diplomatic aggression against Azerbaijan gave us much food for thought. SEPAH had also started voicing their threats against Azerbaijan sometime around September and October.
The current situation in Iran deems it practically impossible for someone armed with a Kalashnikov to storm an embassy. The large-scale mass protests of the last several months, accompanied by clashes, had been just repressed with great difficulty. As the saying goes, the fire was extinguished, while the ashes were still hot. That is why law enforcement agencies are trying to keep almost everyone on the streets under strict control so that no one can carry weapons or any means of sabotage.
The attack on the Azerbaijani mission was so poorly planned that the first lie came out there and then. The Tehran police announced that ‘A 50-year-old man with two passengers in his car – a 14-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy – parked in front of the embassy, threatened the unarmed guard, entered the building, and opened fire.’ It sounded as if the man had taken his children out for a picnic…
The statement was released before the video. The CCTV footage from the embassy building, however, painted a whole other picture: The terrorist drove at speed crashing into the car parked in front of the embassy, and the gunman who got out of it just approached a guard without saying a word; he likely entered the embassy building as soon as he saw that the guard was an Iranian policeman.
What was the need for such a short-lived lie?
We can assume that it was the premeditated course of events, and the statement was also scripted in advance. The process went a bit awry.
Tying a terror attack against the embassy to a family conflict is a pure mockery of the entire global community. Not only the history of diplomacy, but the history of the crime itself has never seen a case of a jealous husband attacking an embassy. Only the Iranian regime could conjure such silly stories.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – or the SEPAH – has been threatening Azerbaijan in one way or another for a long time: firing rockets, crossing the Aras, veiled hints at times. As they had neither the skills nor the courage to carry out the first two, they resorted to the third option. And all ‘covert hints’ by Iran eventually lead to terrorism. What else could we expect from a state that has turned terrorism into its main tool of the foreign policy all over the world, especially in the region?! Terrorism against Israel, terrorism against Saudi Arabia, and finally, terrorism against Azerbaijan!!!
Iran has been brainwashing its population with anti-Azerbaijan propaganda for months. Turning a neighbouring state into a red cloth for a bull to such brains (where religious radicalism has long since taken root) means calling for terrorism indirectly and covertly. Even if this terror act has not been directly orchestrated by Iranian special services, it has indirectly been penned by its ideological leaders – the mullah government!
So, the main question arises: Will the Iranian authorities ensure an objective, impartial and comprehensive investigation of the incident?! It does not sound likely, but even if they do, it won’t do much. If Iran had indirectly had the blood of our sons martyred in the Patriotic War on their hands, they have now directly shed the blood of an Azerbaijani citizen. If Iran ever truly wishes to right the serious damage brought about by this terrible incident to our bilateral relations, they will have to stop all threats and propaganda against Azerbaijan once and for all. Maybe in this case they will somehow amend the sins against Orkhan Asgarov, our citizen martyred during the treacherous attack on our embassy… Of course, time will tell, but unfortunately, we are not convinced that they will do so.
The Iranian regime decisively revealed its enmity towards Azerbaijan with this incident. The Azerbaijani society must respond adequately. People who continue to sympathize with Iran and consider Khomeini and other Ayat… my bet, Tormentullahs their leaders should be publicly condemned. The law-enforcement bodies must monitor any suspicious activity tied to Irani propaganda in Azerbaijan. Otherwise, still promoting Iran in Azerbaijan after what happened today, will mean justifying terrorism.
Vusal Mammadov is an editor-in-chief at AzVision.az news outlet.