Iran withdraws envoy over Eurovision gay pride row

Tehran's ambassador recalled from Azerbaijan as tensions escalate over rumors of a gay parade at the Eurovision Song Contest in Baku

Iran withdraws envoy over Eurovision gay pride row
24 May 2012

Iran has recalled its ambassador from Azerbaijan over rumors of a gay pride event during the Eurovision Song Contest.

The envoy for consultations in Tehran was withdrawn from Azerbaijan’s capital Baku after the two neighboring countries accused each other of meddling in each other’s affairs.

The two countries have been at loggerheads ever since gay scene website nighttours.com suggested that a pride parade could take place in the city during the lead-up to Eurovision. The grand final of which is held on Saturday (26 May).

Despite the website removing the article a few days later, the news sparked fury in the Islamic Republic of Iran, with officials, religious leaders and members of the public slamming Azerbaijan for allowing an ‘outrageous’ party and parade for ‘perverts’.

Angry homophobes took to the streets of two cities in Iran in protest on 11 May.

A counter protest was held outside the Iranian embassy in Baku, with people demanding Iran stop interfering in Azerbaijan’s affairs, saying ‘Iranian Islam is not Islam’ and ‘Iran sends terrorists to our country’.

Azerbaijan has mostly ethnic Azeri Shi’ite Muslims, who make up over 30% of the population of the neighboring Islamic Republic of Iran.

Azerbaijani officials have repeatedly denied the rumors of any gay pride parade.

Gay activist Rusian Balukhin, who runs Azerbaijani gay.az site, stated that ‘among Baku’s gays and lesbians there is no one even dreaming of demonstrations or parades’.

He added that staging an event like that would be irresponsible and counterproductive given the current, rather intolerant social climate for Azerbaijan’s LGBT community.

Hossein Alizedah of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Comission (IGLHRC) speculated that the critique from Iran ‘over the possible gay-parade in Baku is used as ‘a hook’ by Tehran to leverage more public pressure on the Azeri government’ to loosen its ties with Israel.

Other experts have pointed out the roots of the conflict go back at least to 2011, when the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliev in his New Year’s speech stated that he would like to be a leader for Azeris around the world, to which Iran responded by stating the Azerbaijan was a former part of Iran.

Experts also note the tension between a secular Republic of Azerbaijan versus an Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as disputes over the marine boundaries in the Caspian Sea which is rich in oil and gas resources.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Study finds gay dads' brains act like mothers' and fathers' brains at the same time

Researchers recorded the brain activity of 48 gay fathers when they could see their kids and compared that to the brain activity of heterosexual mothers and fathers and found they displayed similarities to both
No thumbnail available

Head of Boy Scouts of America calls for an end to ban on gay adults

Robert Gates: Scouts can't 'ignore the social, political and juridicial changes taking place in our country'
No thumbnail available

Presidential candidate calls for marriage ban

Koran-burning independent candidate Terry Jones admits his anti-gay marriage stance may aid bullies
No thumbnail available

LGBT adoption rates at record high in UK

An increasing number of LGBT people are coming forward to adopt
No thumbnail available

Trans arrest and run-away wife in Kuwaiti 'vice' crackdown

Transgender man arrested for 'imitating' opposite sex and run-away wife accuses husband of cheating on her with transgender people in Kuwait
No thumbnail available

James Bond actor reveals he's gay and married

Ben Whishaw, who played Q in last year’s James Bond instalment Skyfall, revealed his civil partnership to Australian composer Mark Bradshaw.
No thumbnail available

Rosie O'Donnell demonstrates the Barbra Streisand imitation she did for her late mom

Singer's music had bonded The View co-host to the mother who died when she was 10
No thumbnail available

Did Aussie actor Brenton Thwaites just come out as bisexual?

Asked what he looks for in a partner he replies: 'Male or female?'
No thumbnail available

Major League Baseball adopts stronger policy against anti-gay discrimination

Commissioner Bud Selig: 'We welcome all individuals regardless of sexual orientation into our ballparks'
No thumbnail available

It’s time to stop protecting the SS doctor who operated on gay men in Holocaust

Denmark should apologize for shielding the man who experimented on gays in Nazi concentration camps