UTV

Iran expelled four Azerbaijani diplomats in tit-for-tat measure


The file photo shows a view of Iran’s Foreign Ministry building in the capital Tehran.

Tehran has expelled four Azerbaijani diplomats after a similar decision by Baku amid heightened tensions between the two neighbors.

Iran’s news agency IRNA reported on Friday that the diplomats were declared persona non grata last month. They were working at Azerbaijan’s embassy in Tehran and its consulate in the northwestern city of Tabriz. 

The news agency said the measure took effect in April. The move is in response to Baku’s decision last month to expel four Iranian embassy employees over what it called “provocative actions”. 

Baku’s decision was announced shortly it said it had arrested six men, who it claimed were linked to Iranian secret services and were plotting a coup in the Caspian nation.

Iran had denounced Azerbaijan’s decision as “radical and unconstructive”, and vowed retaliation.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kan’ani said at the time that the move is in contradiction with good neighborliness principles and is in line with the Israeli regime’s policy of fomenting tensions between Muslim nations.

Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry confirmed on Friday that Iran had declared four Azerbaijani diplomats persona non grata in early April.

Azerbaijan’s relations with Iran were strained in January following an attack on the Eurasian country’s embassy in Tehran.

Azerbaijan closed its diplomatic mission following the incident and evacuated staff over what it called a “terrorist act,” with President Ilham Aliyev blaming it on the “Iranian establishment.”

This is while an initial investigation pointed to “personal and family-related problems” as the motive of the assailant.

The ongoing conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia as well as Baku’s improving relations with the Israeli regime are among other bones of contentions between Iran and Azerbaijan.

Late March, Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen said the regime had reached an agreement with Azerbaijan to establish a united front against Iran. The remarks followed the opening of Azerbaijan’s embassy in Tel Aviv.

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