Azerbaijan closes Iran-linked mosque, office amid tensions

Azerbaijan closes Iran-linked mosque, office amid tensions
The two sites affected are the Husseiniyya Mosque plus an office on its property with ties to Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran.
1 min read
06 October, 2021
The sites have ties with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei [AFP/Getty]

Two sites in Azerbaijan with ties to Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, were closed on Tuesday.

The Husseiniyya Mosque and Khamenei representative Ali Akbar Ojaghnejad's office in Baku were shut down by Azeri authorities.

The Azeri interior ministry cited a spike in Covid-19 cases as being behind its decision on Tuesday, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

"Husseiniyya Mosque is one of the places where the coronavirus has been spreading in recent days. Appropriate measures are being taken by the epidemiological service," the department said.

The website of the shuttered office said that Ojaghnejad has held his post in Baku for 25 years. The office is contained on the mosque's property.

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Iran has raised the situation with Baku, Tehran's Azerbaijan embassy explained on Tuesday, saying that Iran was not told of the closures ahead of time.

The move comes amid a recent souring of relations between Iran and Azerbaijan, which has seen Iran's armed forces conduct a training operation close to the two countries' border.

Tehran has additionally alleged that Israeli forces had been in Azerbaijan, though Baku has denied this.

Iran has given some support to Armenia in the long-running conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh area and this has been a prolonged source of contention with Azerbaijan