Iran has slammed the expulsion of its diplomats from Azerbaijan.
“We believe that such a behavior by the government of the Republic of Azerbaijan is at odds with the principles of neighborliness,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani said in a statement.
Kanaani urged the Azerbaijani government to observe mutual respect, move toward good neighborly ties and avoid what is desired by “the enemies of the region.”
At the same time, Kanaani added, Tehran is contemplating diplomatic moves in response.
Azerbaijan on Thursday said it was expelling four Iranian diplomats over “provocative actions” in the latest deterioration of relations between the neighbours, in part due to Baku’s improving relations with Tehran’s arch-enemy Israel.
Relations between Azerbaijan and Iran have grown increasingly strained in recent months, with the dispute coming to a head when Baku last week opened an embassy in Israel.
Azerbaijan has also suggested that Iran may have been connected to an attempted assassination of an anti-Tehran Azerbaijani lawmaker a week ago.
In a statement on Thursday, Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry said it had summoned Iran’s ambassador and expressed “strong dissatisfaction (with) the recent provocative actions demonstrated by his country in relation to Azerbaijan.”
The ministry said it was declaring four Iranian diplomats persona non grata and had given them 48 hours to leave the country.