23 May 2012

Iran summons Azerbaijan envoy for insults to Islam

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Published May 22, 2012

Associated Press

Iran has summoned neighboring Azerbaijan's envoy and recalled its own ambassador from Baku for consultations over what it describes as the Azeri government's "insults to the sanctities" of Islam.

Iranian clerics have denounced Azerbaijan for hosting the upcoming Eurovision song festival and for allegedly permitting gay rallies, which are banned in Iran.
Baku, however, has never staged a gay pride parade.

The official IRNA news agency said Tuesday that a protest note was delivered to Azerbaijan's Ambassador Javanshir Akhundov.

Oil-rich Azerbaijan has nurtured close relations with the U.S. and played an active role in Western-led counter-terrorist programs. That foreign policy has placed a strain on its ties with Iran, which hosts a sizable ethnic Azeri community.

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