News 16 february — 12:05

Al Jazeera: Calls in Iran to occupy Azerbaijan

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The influential Al Jazeera has published an article about Iran's relations with other states. The article openly says that the Iranian government interferes in the affairs of neighbouring countries, and the attitude of Iran towards Azerbaijan is given as a vivid example.

'Not once we have heard from many Arab politicians that the government of Iran does not comply with the principle of good neighbourly relations, does not respect the neighbouring states and continues to interfere in their internal affairs,' writes Al Jazeera. 'But have only the Arabs suffered from the policy pursued by Iran after the Islamic revolution?'

'If we take a cursory look at Iran's relations with its neighbours, we will understand the mentality of the Iranian leadership. Iran is bordered by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Turkey. We will not go into the details of Iran's relations with all these countries, because this is a topic for a long research, rather than a short article. We will just show on the example of Azerbaijan, how Iran is interfering in the internal affairs of its neighbours.

First, Iran's government supports Armenia, which occupied 20 per cent of Azerbaijani territory. Iran helped the Armenians economically and has been charged with promoting the interests of Christian Armenia, and not of Muslim Azerbaijan. Armenian officials themselves recognise the fact of the strategic military alliance with Iran.

Second, there are extremists in the Iranian government, who call to return the territory of modern Azerbaijan as a native Iranian one. In the Iranian schools, students are constantly reminded that Azerbaijan was taken from Iran, adding that 90 per cent of Azerbaijanis, just as the Iranians, are Shiites.

Azerbaijan is also concerned by the events in Nardaran village in the late autumn of 2015, as a result of which people were killed. Nardaran is the most important stronghold of Shiism in Baku. Azerbaijani mass media, as well as some members of the Azerbaijani Parliament, directly or indirectly, were noting the connection of those developments with Iran. The media also circulated footage of Azerbaijani citizens kissing the hand of an Iranian religious leader, Ayatollah Hussein Nouri Hamadani. At the same time, the Iranian Embassy in Azerbaijan has denied all the allegations.

In response, Iranian MPs issued a statement, which was signed by over 50 members of the Parliament. The statement said that 'Azerbaijan allowed the US and Israeli servants to gamble and drink alcohol absolutely free, even in the month of Muharram, but does not allow Shiites to hold religious ceremonies.'

This is yet another proof of Iranian interference in the internal affairs of other states. We would like to remind once again to the Government of Iran about the principle of good-neighbourliness, and that respect for one's neighbours is a fundamental principle of not only Islamic, but also of international law,' says the article.

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