A gunman entered Azerbaijan’s embassy in the Iranian capital and killed one person on Friday, the foreign ministries of Iran and Azerbaijan confirmed in separate statements, with both citing different motives for the deadly attack.
Police and security forces arrested the assailant, who is now under investigation, according to the Iranian Foreign Ministry.
The attacker opened fire with a Kalashnikov assault rifle, killing the chief of the embassy’s security service and injuring two security guards, according to Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry.
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry later announced a complete evacuation of the embassy staff and their families, blaming an “anti-Azberbaijani campaign” by Iran for the attack.
Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, said the attacker had “personal” motives. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev called the attack a “terrorist” act.
“Terror against diplomatic missions is unacceptable!” Aliyev said in a post on Twitter.
Tensions between Baku and Tehran have been high for years after disagreements over several diplomatic and regional issues, including Azerbaijan’s support for Israel and Iran’s backing of Armenia in the dispute over the Armenian-majority breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that a “recent anti-Azerbaijani campaign against our country in Iran has encouraged such attacks against our diplomatic mission.”
A video published on Iran’s state media shows the gunman drive into a parked car outside the embassy before exiting the car with the machine gun, briefly avoiding a man standing inside a guard post.
A separate video published on Iran’s state-affiliated Fars News showed the man firing the weapon inside the embassy.
Iran’s judicial news agency Mizan said the assailant was disgruntled over his missing wife who had allegedly visited the Azerbaijani embassy in Tehran and that embassy staff did not respond to his questions during his repeated visits.