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Anti-Iranian Rally Held In Baku

Protesters picket outside the Iranian embassy in Baku.
Protesters picket outside the Iranian embassy in Baku.
BAKU -- A rally has taken place in front of the Iranian embassy in Baku to protest what are widely perceived to be anti-Azerbaijani statements appearing in the Iranian media and Iran’s warmer ties with Armenia, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

The demonstrations were organized separately by the opposition National Democratic Party and a nongovernmental organization, International Diaspora Center.

The picketers protested recent comments made on the Iranian Sahar-2 television channel made by Iranian officials and clerics as well as Iran's improved relations with Armenia.

They chanted such slogans as "Put an end to provocations against Azerbaijan!" and "Ahmadinejad, don't play with our patience!"

They also held portraits of the Iranian and Armenian presidents together.

The police did not disperse the protest, but briefly detained some demonstrators afterward.

A similar picket was organized in front of the Iranian embassy in Baku on February 2.

On February 1, during the Azerbaijani parliament's opening session, a number of deputies made anti-Iranian statements that blamed Iran for exporting drugs into the country and for promoting fundamentalist Islam.

Iran's Sahar-2 station regularly broadcasts anti-Azerbaijani programs. They recently criticized Baku's ban on girls wearing the hijab in middle schools and hinted that the Naxcivan Autonomous Republic has remained a part of Azerbaijan only due to Iran's support.

An estimated 15-25 percent of Iran's 76 million people are ethnic Azeris.

Read more in Azerbaijani here