MAY 22, 2012 – Iran has withdrawn its ambassador to Azerbaijan in protest at what it described as anti-Iranian and anti-Islamic policies.
Rows over border infringements, cyber attacks, Azerbaijan’s friendship with Israel and the capture of alleged Iranian spies in Baku have damaged relations between the two neighbours this year.
However, Iran withdrawing its ambassador from Baku pushes Iran-Azerbaijan relations to a new low.
The Iranian state news agency, Fars, said on its website on Monday that Iran had warned Azerbaijan against supposed anti-Islamic practices.
“Baku has in recent months intensified its anti-Islamic policies, like destroying mosques, banning Hijab, detaining Muslim activists, killing Islamists and insulting scholars,” it said on its website.
The Fars News Agency also said that a proposed plan to hold a gay pride rally in Baku ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday was an insult to Islam.
Azerbaijan is officially a secular state although a majority of the population are Shia Muslims.
Azerbaijani officials have previously said that Iran has been provoking it by staging protests outside its consulate in Tabriz, infringing it border area and plotting to assassinate foreign diplomats in Baku.