Center for National and International Studies
“Iran is happy about the arrests of religious people in Azerbaijan and that the religious people are persecuted because repressions, arrests, and torture undermine the faith in the Azerbaijani state among religious people…”
(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties
The police used violence against the members of the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP) who were protesting in front of the Ministry of Justice against the illegal arrest of Alizamin Salayev, the chairman of the APFP Salyan district branch. Dozens of APFP members were detained and taken to the police department. Members of the Party, Cheyhun Novruzov and Sahladar Iskandarli were respectively sentenced to 30 and 25 days in prison. At the time of Salayev’s trial, up to 100 APFP activists chanted “Freedom to Alizamin Salayev” in front of the Ministry of Justice. However, the Garadagh District Court did not grant the request for the release of Alizamin Salayev. The police arrested the protestors and detained dozens of them, but all the detainees except Novruzov and Iskandarli were released at the end of the day. Concerned about his life, the chairperson of the APFP Ali Karimli, and human rights defenders asked Salayev to end the hunger strike though Salayev has noted that he will continue his fight for justice even if it takes his life.
The crisis caused by the water shortage in the Saatli region continues. Residents of Saatli say that the lack of water is not due to environmental reasons but rather to the monopoly of high-ranking officials. They claim that hydro-technical devices have been installed to change the flow of water from the river to the farms of unidentified officials. As a result, the water flowing to the agricultural fields of the villagers was prevented. A 32-year-old man in Zerdab Süleymanov Akbar attempted suicide in protest against the lack of water. Suleymanov poured gasoline on himself and set himself on fire in front of the Zardab district water department. He was brought to Baku with severe burn injuries.
After complaining about the situation in the orphanage, 16-year-old Mahammad Hajiyev, was admitted to the Psychiatric Hospital. Hajiyev shared a video on social media saying that he would commit suicide if he is not released.
Governance and Corruption
Nasir Kanani, the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran, called the joint statement of the Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov “an anti-Iran agreement and a united front against Tehran”. The proposal of the foreign minister of the Zionist regime to create a united anti-Iran front, as well as the statement of the foreign minister of Azerbaijan entitled “A new stage of strategic partnership between Azerbaijan and the Zionist regime,” is a tacit confirmation of anti-Iran orientation, said the statement. Kanani said that the joint statement signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan is the next document expressing the “united front against Iran” as well as the nefarious intentions of changing the territory of Azerbaijan. He considered it a threat to Iran’s national security and strongly condemned it. Kanani also noted that there are unbreakable historical and religious ties between the peoples of Iran and Azerbaijan. He added that the Islamic Republic of Iran has always tried to prevent the evildoers’ attempts to create distance between nations. “The two neighboring countries and the government of Azerbaijan are also expected to avoid the trap set by the enemies. Relations between the two countries have expanded. “It is clear that the Islamic Republic of Iran cannot remain indifferent to the Zionist regime’s conspiracy against it from the territory of Azerbaijan,” said the MFA official. The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan has officially declared Iran a terrorist state. In a statement released on behalf of the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan, it was said that the accusations of Iran are groundless, and Iran was called a state “that supports terrorism and is known for committing terrorist acts in various countries of the world.”
Journalist Habib Muntazir reports that due to the increased tension with Iran, more than 400 religious people belonging to the Shia sect have been detained in different regions of Azerbaijan, including Baku, in the last four days. It is reported that some of them were arrested under the name of espionage, and many were arrested on drug charges.
Exiled journalist Afgan Mukhtarli explained the strained relations between Azerbaijan and Iran with president Aliyev’s desire to stay in power at any cost. Mukhtarli’s post: “There is a reason for all this bloody game – to stay in power. After the Ukrainian war, Aliyev tries to gain the support of the West by blackmailing the West with the threat of Iran. Will he achieve the support of the West? So far, blackmailing the West with the Radical Islamic regime has gained the passive support of Europe and the United States. Isn’t it dangerous to confront Iran at this level? If relations reach the point of war and the situation becomes dangerous for Azerbaijan, Ilham will flee. For him, Azerbaijan is no different from the shop where he used to sell jackets in the Moscow market. He earns money from the shop and will run away if there is a real danger. In the West, he will be welcomed as a hero who fought against Iran. This is also necessary for the safety of the millions he stole from the Azerbaijani people. Does the arrest of religious people bother Iran? Nope. On the contrary, Iran is pleased with the arrest of religious people in Azerbaijan and that the religious people are persecuted. Because repressions, arrests, and torture undermine the faith in the Azerbaijani state among religious people. It strengthens the image of Iran as a savior who doesn’t matter at all to Ilham. The Aliyevs destroyed everything in the name of the state in Azerbaijan. Now he is busy destroying the love of Azerbaijan that remains in the hearts of our people.”
Four people were identified and detained in connection with the armed attack against MP Fazil Mustafa. According to the statement, within the framework of the operation-search, operation-investigation measures jointly conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the General Prosecutor’s Office.”
April 4, 2023