Iran’s neighboring country, Azerbaijan, to open embassy in Israel

The embassy announcement comes amid rising tensions between Azerbaijan and its southern neighbor, Iran.

By World Israel News Staff

Azerbaijan will open an embassy in Israel, becoming the first Shi’ite Muslim country to do so following a parliamentary vote on Friday.

“I welcome the decision by the National Assembly of Azerbaijan to open an embassy in Israel. Azerbaijan is an important partner of Israel and home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the Muslim world,” Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement.

“The decision to open an embassy reflects the depth of the relationship between our countries. This move is the result of the Israeli government’s efforts to build strong diplomatic bridges with the Muslim world,” he said.

“I want to thank President Ilham Aliyev and congratulate the Azeri people who will now be represented for the first time in the State of Israel,” he added.

Azerbaijan and Israel have 30 years of diplomatic relations, and share particularly strong security ties, but only in August 2021 did the Turkic state inaugurate a Trade and Tourism office in Tel Aviv with diplomatic status.

Even though Azerbaijan is one of Israel’s largest clients in the defense industry, the relationship between the two countries has remained mostly covert until now.

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Israel is also represented in Azerbaijan in fields outside of security, from road construction to telecom to medicine.

The embassy announcement comes amid rising tensions between Azerbaijan and its southern neighbor, Iran, with Baku arresting five Azeris for spying for Tehran.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz last month paid an official visit to Azerbaijan, where he met with his Azeri counterpart, Zakir Hasanov, and Aliyev.

Incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Aliyev on a visit to Baku in 2016.