BAKU (Reuters) – Azerbaijan will evacuate its embassy staff and members of their families from Iran on Sunday, two days after a security guard was shot dead and two others wounded in what Baku described as an “riot”. terrorism.”
Police in Tehran said they had arrested a suspect and Iranian authorities condemned Friday’s incident, but said the gunman appeared to have a personal rather than a political motive.
The incident came amid growing tensions between neighboring countries over Iran’s treatment of its large Azerbaijani minority, and over Azerbaijan’s decision this month to appoint its first ambassador to Israel.
After the attack, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said it had summoned the Iranian ambassador in Baku to demand justice and would evacuate embassy staff from Tehran. It gave no other details, including whether the embassy would continue to operate.
Earlier, the ministry said the shooting was the result of Tehran not responding to its calls for improved security.
Television footage, obtained by Reuters, showed the attacker making his way into the embassy building and shooting two men before a third embassy employee ran into him.
A gray-haired man identified as the attacker was later shown on Iranian state television saying he had acted to secure the release of his Azerbaijani wife, who is believed to be being held at the embassy.
A young woman identified as the man’s daughter said her mother was in Azerbaijan.
State media said Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi called for a “thorough investigation” into the incident and sent condolences to Azerbaijan and the family of the dead man.
Reporting by Nailia Bagirova; Writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Mark Heinrich
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