Neil Watson: I believe the UK, Israel and Azerbaijan already form an alliance to combat Iranian-backed terror
Baku Tribune presents an interview with British Journalist Neil Watson.
- An opinion has formed in the Azerbaijani society that the Iranian special services are behind the terrorist act in the Azerbaijani embassy in Tehran. Why did Iran need it?
- I absolutely condemn the terrorist attack on the Azerbaijani Embassy in Iran. The murder of Orkhan Asgarov, Head of the Security Services is a tragedy and I send my condolences to his family. I also wish the two other injured guards a swift recovery. The reasons for the attack are that Iran wishes to derail any prospect of Azerbaijani-Armenian normalisation, as it will make Azerbaijan stronger in the region; it sees the internal unrest in Iran leading to possible devolution, which could lead to a degree of autonomy for 40 million Azerbaijanis in South Azerbaijan whose rights have been denied tor so long; it wishes to break the Azerbaijani-Turkish alliance and does not like the strong Azerbaijani-Israeli relationship, which gives Israel an ally in the South Caucasus. Iran rules by terror. It uses the threat of persecution, torture and destruction and execution to subdue its own people. It does not subscribe to any international laws or organisations. Terror is its long-standing modus operandi.
- Do you think that Iran, which planned the attack on the Azerbaijani embassy, acted independently, without the support of third countries, or did it enlist the moral support of some external forces?
- There is undeniably a Russian-Iranian-Armenian alliance. We will never get to the truth, but one cannot exclude the possibility that Russia gave the go-ahead for the attack, even if not directly involved.
- How did the UK react to this attack?
- UK condemns all forms of terrorism. H.E. Simon Shercliff, UK Ambassador to Iran, has conveyed his condolences to the relatives of the deceased and those directly affected by the attack.
- UK Ambassador to Azerbaijan Fergus Auld has met with Assistant of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Head of Foreign Policy Affairs Department of the Presidential Administration Hikmat Hajiyev and discussed the terrorist act in the Azerbaijani embassy. A similar meeting was held today with the Ambassador of Israel. Do you think that the UK, Israel and Azerbaijan can create a trilateral format of interaction and counteraction in the fight against Iranian terrorism?
- I believe the UK, Israel and Azerbaijan already form an alliance to combat Iranian-backed terror, even if not formalized on paper. To return to the final question, I believe the UK, Israel and Azerbaijan already share information and have the same objectives in combating Iranian terrorism. There is scope to deepen this agreement further and formalize it, but the risk is antagonizing further the Iranian regime, which is backed by Russia.
Interviewed by Murad Mahmudov