“Fear of tribes belongs to a government that confronts them with sword and discrimination, not Iran which is the paradise of tribes,” Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani wrote in Persian, English, Arabic, and Turkish via his Twitter account on Saturday.
Shamkhani’s remarks came after the Turkish president said on Thursday that Iran will not target its northwestern neighbor Azerbaijan for Baku's relations with the Israeli regime because of its noticeable Azeri population, Press TV wrote.
Responding to a reporter’s question on whether recent Iranian military drills would “escalate into a hot crisis” in the Caucasus, he said he had “no such expectation.”
Over “Israel’s relations with Azerbaijan, Iran will not be hostile to Azerbaijan or put Azerbaijan on the target list because the Azerbaijani population in Iran is noticeable today,” the Turkish president said.
Reacting to Erdogan’s claims, Shamkhani said exaggerating the Israeli regime’s fake grandeur raises doubts about Erdogan’s power and his adherence to Islamic teachings, as a ruler who has claims on leading the Islamic world.
Iran has been suspicious of Azerbaijan’s links to the Israeli regime, whose supply of drones and other weapons helped Baku gain the upper hand in the war with Armenia last year.
Early this month, Iran’s Army held military drills on its northwestern border, which Tehran described as part of its routine exercises, about which it notified neighbors beforehand.
At the same time, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, among other Iranian officials, warned that Tehran does not tolerate the Israeli regime’s movements near its borders.
Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev criticized the exercises. He also accused Iran of sending over trucks to “illegally” cross into the Nagorno-Karabakh region, to which Shamkhani hit back by saying that ignoring the neighborhood principles and making false statements cannot be a good sign.
“Accusation against a country that the world recognizes as a hero in the fight against drugs has no effect other than invalidating the speaker’s words,” Shamkhani said in a tweet on October 15. “Beware of the devil’s costly traps,” he added.
Before the Iranian Army’s exercise, Azerbaijan held joint military drills with Turkey and Pakistan in Baku, a move that Iran censured as illegal under the Caspian Sea’s legal conventions. Azerbaijan and Turkey also held another joint military exercise in Azerbaijan’s isolated enclave of Nakhchivan after Iran’s drills.
Earlier this month, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei warned against the interference of foreigners in the region as a source of discord and damage, urging regional countries to resolve their differences “without foreign interference.”
Erdogan's remarks come as Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and his Azerbaijani counterpart have in a recent phone conversation stressed the need for the resolution of issues between Baku and Tehran through dialogue and cooperation.
In a phone call focusing on latest developments in bilateral ties on October 12, Amir-Abdollahian told Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Jehon Peramov that any concerns or issues between Tehran and Baku must be resolved through dialogue and cooperation, and also in a calm and friendly atmosphere.
The top Iranian diplomat stressed "the need for mutual respect, independence, sovereignty and integrity of the territories of both countries," adding that "Tehran and Baku have a long-standing relationship."
The Azerbaijani foreign minister, for his part, described his country’s relations with Tehran as “friendly” and said that “relations with friendly countries are a priority for the Republic of Azerbaijan.”