Iran's ambassador to Azerbaijan, Abbas Mousavi, tweeted an apparent threat against Israel's ambassador to the country, George Deek, saying the ambassador would be "buried" by the people of Tabriz, a city in northwestern Iran, on Thursday.
For the information of this adventurous boy: Our beloved #Tabriz is known as the land of FIRSTS in #Iran's proud history. Apparently, the FIRST Evil Zionist is going to be buried by the zealous people of Tabriz, too. Never cross our red-line, ever!#IRANTABRIZ pic.twitter.com/V0bGV9JX8V— Seyed Abbas Mousavi (@SAMOUSAVI9) July 20, 2022
"For the information of this adventurous boy: Our beloved #Tabriz is known as the land of FIRSTS in #Iran's proud history. Apparently, the FIRST Evil Zionist is going to be buried by the zealous people of Tabriz, too. Never cross our red-line, ever! #IRANTABRIZ," tweeted Mousavi.
Mousavi posted the tweet in response to a tweet by Deek reading "I’m learning so much about Azerbaijani history and culture in Tabriz in this great book I was recently presented. What are you guys reading these days?" accompanied by a photo of Deek reading a book titled "Magic Tales of Tabriz."
I’m learning so much about Azerbaijani history and culture in Tabriz in this great book I was recently presented.What are you guys reading these days? pic.twitter.com/4TErHYH0zb— George Deek (@GeorgeDeek) July 20, 2022
The city of Tabriz is often called "the city of firsts," but this is not the first time Iran has taken issue with Azerbaijan's relations with Israel.
Last year, tensions spiked between Azerbaijan and Iran after Azerbaijan began targeting Iranian trucks with fines and arrests, and Iran moved military forces to the border and warned against Israeli influence near its borders.
Ahmed Ali Goudarzi, commander of Iran's Border Guard, claimed at the time that Israeli forces are present in "sensitive areas" in neighboring countries and conducting intelligence and espionage work, advising Muslim countries "not to allow this," according to Iranian state broadcaster IRIB.
The commander additionally claimed that Israel incited neighboring countries to take action concerning their borders or impose large tolls on heavy vehicles, an apparent reference to fees imposed on Iranian truck drivers by Azerbaijan.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian also claimed that Israel had a presence along the Azerbaijani-Iranian border, saying "the Zionist regime has started provocative actions in our region through the territory of Azerbaijan. We consider some of the harsh statements made by the Azerbaijani authorities these days to be unconstructive."
Azerbaijan's State Border Service (SBS) rejected the claims, saying that Azerbaijan "does not need the support of foreign forces."
Mousavi had a hand in the tensions then as well, claiming in an interview with Al-Mayadeen news that there were 1,000 Israeli operatives and 1,800 ISIS ones in Azerbaijan and that Israelis with advanced equipment in Azerbaijan played a role in the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
Iran launched the “Conquerors of Khaybar” exercise amid the tensions near the border with Azerbaijan. The name was a seeming reference to the Battle of Khaybar in 628 CE, when Muslims, led by Muhammad, fought against the Jews there, eventually defeating and imposing a tax on them.
Iranian officials stressed that the exercise is meant to “send a message” to Israel and ISIS, warning that Tehran will take any action necessary to defend its borders.
At the time, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev expressed shock at Iran’s decision to hold a military exercise along its border, saying it was the first time in Azerbaijan’s 30-year history of independence that this had occurred.
Azerbaijan and Israel have close ties, with the president of Azerbaijan saying in a discussion with the Nizami Ganjavi International Center in May that relations with Israel were very diverse and were especially strong in the defense industry. “It is no secret that Azerbaijan has full access to Israeli defense industry products,” Aliyev said at the time.
Israeli arms, including the LORA missile and the Israel Aerospace Industries Harop suicide drone, were reportedly used by Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh war with Armenia in 2020.