As tensions simmer between Iran and Azerbaijan, Baku has closed the Islamic Republic’s cultural attaché office in the city.
Iran’s IRNA news agency cited an unnamed official as saying that the closure of the cultural advisor’s office is due to the “recent disagreements”between the two countries.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran owns many properties in Baku, and the recent actions are one-sided and hasty excuses by the Azerbaijani side to take the properties that belong to the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the official said.
Claiming that such differences can be resolved through dialogue, he played down the issue which saw iran’s diplomat sent back to Tehran and said the move was “irrational” and “emotional”.
This week, a report, claimed by an opposition group to have been hacked from the Iranian presidency servers, showed that the government is eying ways to redefine its relations with Azerbaijan.
It is the latest incident in a series of tensions which have been rising between Iran and Azerbaijan since November 2022 when both sides accused each other of engaging in terrorism and espionage in the other’s territory.
Iran has suggested Azerbaijani involvement in the October 26 attack in Shiraz claimed by the Islamic State group (Isis-Daesh) and, also accuses Baku of harboring Israeli intelligence and military elements that plan to use its territory in a possible attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
The two countries in early May expelled each other’s diplomats after incidents that Baku also dubbed as "terrorist attacks". These included a gunman’s attack on Azerbaijani diplomatic mission in Tehran in January after which Baku shut down the embassy and an attack on Azerbaijani lawmaker Fazil Mustafa in March, who is an outspoken critic of the Islamic Republic.