Azerbaijan And Iran In Row Over Who’s More Anti-Gay

AzerbaijanNeighboring nations Azerbaijan and Iran are in the midst of a very unsettling debate.

Iranian news agencies have been reporting that Azerbaijan, which it dislikes for its cozy relationship with Israel, is hosting a "gay pride" parade in conjunction with this week's Eurovision singing contest. Now Azerbaijan, uneasy with Iran after arresting Iranians they claim plotted attacks on the country, is accusing Iran of "slander."

Azerbaijan on Monday accused neighbor Iran of slander for claiming that a gay pride march would be held in Baku while the city hosts the popular Eurovision song contest this week.

"They are making statements about something that does not exist. We are holding Eurovision, not a gay parade," senior presidential administration official Ali Hasanov told a news conference.

"Actually there is no word in the Azerbaijani language for a gay parade, unlike in their language," he added.

Hasanov also used the occasion to slam Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International for constantly getting on their case about human rights abuses. "Groundless statements by two organisations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, cause particular regret," he said.

"The Azerbaijani people see that the statements of these two organisations have nothing in common with the actual situation in the country." If you say so.


  1. SteveC says

    Yes Eurovision is a hugely popular event among the gay community.

    Sadly the organizers of the Eurovision – the EBU – have shown their utter spinelessness in confronting countries over their human rights records.

    The Eurovision should be cancelled (Azerbaijan is not even in Europe) and Azerbaijan stripped of their title.

  2. james says

    Baku is one of the finalists for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Might be a good time to write our national Olympic committees and urge them to vote for one of the other finalists: Madrid, Tokyo, Istanbul, or Doha. Not so sure about Doha either.

  3. jpeckjr says

    Can we not be surprised that neither of these countries is a safe place to live or visit if you’re gay? And this exchange of words is not about gay people but about disputed territories and centuries-old tensions?

  4. Hunter says

    The official is also lying. You certainly can say “gay pride parade” in Azeri. Why the notion of “pride” is somewhat culture bound to us in the West, it can be translated as: Escinsel Haqlari Yuruyusu ve Bayrami, which amounts to “gay rights walk and festival”.
    Just sayin’

  5. Duff says

    Eurovision should not be cancelled the whole purpose of the contest is to united people of different countries. Yes, Azerbaijan has its record of human rights, but so do other countries that have hosted the contest in previous years, like Russia, Ukraine, and a lot of others ex-Soviet bloc. And this goes for other international competitions as well, like the Olympics, it’ll still go on but there will always be protests. Azerbaijan’s a developing democratic republic they have flaws just like any other country and in time hopefully sooner than later it’ll resolve them.

    One last note, it doesn’t matter if Azerbaijan is not in the technical old and frankly outdated definition of the boundaries of Europe, it’s about member countries of the EBU. Hence Israel, Armenia, Morocco, and Georgia have all participated at some point.