Unfortunately, Baku has many enemies in the international arena: from a number of American congressmen, MEPs and members of the Russian State Duma enjoying the money of the Armenian lobby to all kinds of “experts” in the international media, NGOs, “think tanks” and political parties. There are many reasons for this, including the extensive Armenian diaspora, shortcomings of our own diplomacy, and the world powers’ global interests in the region of the South Caucasus. What is sad is that there are ethnic Azerbaijanis among the anti-Azerbaijani and anti-Turkish “troops” supported by those financial injections.
One of them is political scientist Eldar Mamedov, an expert on Iran, whose family comes from the glorious Azerbaijani region of Lankaran. Mamedov, or Mamedovs, according to his passport, was born in Riga, Latvia, on December 13, 1972. He studied there, worked there in banking, and managed Parex Bank’s office in Azerbaijan. He served at the Latvian Foreign Ministry and at the Latvian embassy in Spain and the United States. Mamedov’s diplomatic career was a springboard for his subsequent employment in Brussels in 2007, where he now lives and works as a foreign policy adviser to the Social Democrat group in the European Parliament. According to our sources, he is currently not married, and his ex-wife, Natalia Sisoyeva, is an assistant to MP A. Ameriks.
For many years, Mamedov has been writing articles and pieces aimed at discrediting Azerbaijan in the West and preventing it from getting closer to Brussels and Washington. He posts his materials in social media and sends them to a number of foreign resources and expert blogs, which are mostly read by the academic and political science community. Azerbaijan has been in his sights for a long time. Back in 2010, Hurriyet Daily News published his article “Dark days for freedom in Azerbaijan and Turkey”, in which he voiced accusations against official Baku and Ankara in a human rights context. Ten years later, on October 2, 2020, in The American Conservative, he labeled Baku’s counteroffensive operation to liberate the territories occupied by Armenians as “an offensive by the Azerbaijani army”. The article also cited reports about Turkey supporting Azerbaijan by allegedly sending Syrian fighters to the war zone.
Since Eldar Mamedov is not your run-of-the-mill Twitter troll, but rather an analytical-minded person who works in the European Parliament, we decided to examine the motives behind his journalistic efforts in more detail. In the course of our little journalistic investigation, we were able to establish that Mamedov visited the Islamic Republic of Iran on June 22-25, 2007. There, presumably, he met and formed long-term cooperation with the Iranians, who had been keeping an eye on Mamedov since his diplomatic service in the Latvian Foreign Ministry. Notably, that short trip to Iran happened at the same time as Eldar Mamedov took a job in the European Parliament. Since then the Iranians have had another champion in Brussels, who can be galvanized or switched to sleep mode, depending on the needs of foreign policy. Occasionally it would take a comical turn. For example, for a long time Mamedov posed as an ardent liberal and, therefore, an opponent of the Iranian government. But at the same time, he was repeatedly seen in the IRI embassy in Belgium, in particular in 2010 and 2012, at the height of the US-Iran standoff. It is possible, of course, that he went there to uphold liberal values.
Or take more recent events. As Israeli Ambassador Deek’s famous Tales of Tabriz flash mob spread around, Mamedov decided to make his Iranian “partners” happy with posts about Nizami Ganjavi’s “Persian” origins:
Nezami Ganjavi was a great Iranian poet. The fact that he happened to live on the territory that today is part of the Rep of Azerbaijan does not make him an “Azerbaijani poet”. Better to use it to build bridges rather than claim a historically baseless exclusive Az ownership. https://t.co/YqjAecLdRg
— Eldar Mamedov (@EldarMamedov4) July 29, 2022
Not surprisingly, it was Mamedov who was asked by the Iranian diplomatic mission in Brussels in 2018 to organize a lobbying effort to support the “nuclear deal” that Donald Trump had scrapped, and to actively lobby the IRI in the European Parliament. The Iranians spare no expense to promote their own interests, and the established contacts have been reactivated. It is no secret in European diplomatic circles that Mamedov is now the main “coach” for Iranian diplomats in Belgium and personally prepares talking points and narratives for their communication with European politicians. Mamedov also mediates contacts between Iran and European think tanks such as the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS). Neither does he ignore political foundations. Several years ago Mamedov organized closed-door discussions with representatives of Iran and Europe at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Brussels. And in the leading European media he pushes targeted talking points (often under the nominal authorship of his acquaintances) for his secret employers in order to manipulate public opinion, experts and politicians to renegotiate the “nuclear deal” on terms favorable to Iran.
But let’s take a look at our pseudo-compatriot’s publications on Azerbaijan. One of Mamedov’s articles on the Friedrich Ebert Foundation’s website on May 27, 2021, is “Why is there no criticism of Israel in Azerbaijan”. In his analysis, he claims that Azerbaijan is providing Israel with a staging ground for intelligence activities against Iran, information that cannot be confirmed by any serious source.
In his July 22, 2020 piece in Responsible Statecraft, Mamedov urges Azerbaijan to be “vigilant not to let itself to be manipulated by extra-regional anti-Iranian agendas”. Familiar rhetoric, isn’t it? It sounds like Mamedov was possessed by the spirit of an IRGC brigadier general while he wrote the article.
On social media, Mamedov is also actively promoting curious ideas in tune with Armenian guidelines. One of his recent tweets reads that “the EU’s bet on Azerbaijan as a serious alternative to the Russian gas is short-sighted and unrealistic.” One wonders who might be so concerned about the gas deal between Azerbaijan and the EU…
As a matter of fact, it is interesting that Mamedov has been openly supporting the Armenian side over recent years. Perhaps this is covered by his overall Iranian royalties, who knows. On social media, Eldar shares anti-Azerbaijani posts of Armenian Twitter activists. In one of his retweets, he even thanks an Armenian agitator for commenting on his publication criticizing the Azerbaijani leadership and the “illiberal” opposition:
Thanks to @GoldenTent for re-upping my old piece on the illiberalism of Azerbaijani opposition. Sadly, not only 8 years later I have been proven right, but there are so many more examples of nationalist populism that make that opposition not so different from the Aliyev’s regime. https://t.co/OegdAhrgdl
— Eldar Mamedov (@EldarMamedov4) August 1, 2022
It is possible that his lucrative friendship with Iran inspired Eldar Mamedov’s love for Armenian content in most positive ways. Luckily for him, there are enough sponsors there. And since appetite comes with eating, we can assume that Eldar Mamedov will not stop there. After all, as we know, money has no smell.
Translated from Caliber.Az