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Will Azerbaijan-Iran tensions lead to war?

Tehran, Iran – Tensions between Iran and Azerbaijan have been steadily ramping up in recent months, and divisive incidents have become almost a weekly occurrence.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Friday promised “reciprocal diplomatic action” after Azerbaijan expelled four Iranian diplomats over “provocative actions” it did not name.

Azerbaijan arrested six of its own nationals hours earlier, who were accused of being linked to Iranian secret services and plotting a coup in the Caspian nation. It was the latest in a series of arrests in recent months with Baku linking all suspects to Tehran.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, a close ally of Iran’s historical rival Turkey, blamed Tehran after a man stormed the Azerbaijani embassy in the capital in late January, killing its head of security and wounding others.

Iran said diplomatic relations should remain unaffected as the incident was the work of a lone gunman with personal motives, but Aliyev closed down the embassy as he denounced the “terrorist” attack.

Azerbaijan has also criticised Iran for allegedly backing Armenia in the decades-long conflict over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Iran, on the other hand, which is home to millions of Turkic-speaking ethnic Azerbaijanis, has long accused Azerbaijan of inciting separatist sentiment inside its northwestern border.

Source: aljazeera