The Supreme religious leader met Heydar Aliyev at the door of the hall, which hosted the event, shook his hand two hands. Between them began a conversation in Azerbaijani language. We and the Iranian delegation was standing quietly in a corner and listened to what they were talking about. After common words, Heydar Aliyev asked Khamenei:
- Well, how are things in Jamne? (native village Khamenei, located near Tabriz).
You know Hanne? - surprised the Supreme religious leader of Iran.
- Of course, you know. Hamne is a very famous place. And not only as your homeland. One of the great educators of Azerbaijan Mirza Fatali Akhundov is also a native of Hamne. He was your villager. Have you heard about Akhundov?
I heard reluctantly said Khamenei.
Khamenei could understand. Probably, he is not particularly proud of being the villager with the author of the famous treatise "Letters Kemal-UD-Dowla", leading throughout his life fighting against bigotry and not afraid to push the sharp accusations against the Persian regime.
Then the leader of Iran asked a few questions about the period of activity of Heydar Aliyev in Moscow on the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, the negotiations with Armenia. The President in turn asked about Iran's attitude toward this issue, as neighboring Armenia and Azerbaijan the state.
...Finally, began the official part of the meeting. Of course, Khamenei moved to Persian language that is considered the official state language of Iran. There was nothing surprising. The amazing thing was that his speech was translated into Russian language, and very inexperienced and illiterate. There was some misunderstanding. After two or three sentences Heydar Aliyev commanding tone told the interpreter to stop: "Wait!" and appealed to the Supreme religious leader of Iran:
Mr. Khamenei, a few minutes ago we talked in our native language. I understand that we are now in Iran. And You, as the leader, should conduct a formal conversation in Persian. But I don't understand why Your words are translated into Russian language.
- But I thought the official language of your country is Russian?!, - surprised Khamenei, making a naive face.
- Listen, - Heydar Aliyev was openly angry that the Supreme religious leader pretended not to know what the country's state language. Even in the Soviet period, Russian language was the state language of Azerbaijan. Then in our Constitution it was written that the official language is our native language. We defended this language, even under pressure from Moscow, developed it. This language was published a lot of books and Newspapers. But after independence, we use only this language! I don't understand where You thought that the state language of the Azerbaijan Republic might be Russian? I know this language very well, but do all official negotiations around the world only in Azerbaijani language.
After sharp protests of Heydar Aliyev, the Iranian side began to fuss. They don't seem to know how to get out of the situation as it was not invited in advance of the translator, or did not expect such reaction of the President of Azerbaijan.
- Well, this one will be to translate our Ambassador. But Azerbaijan is not such a faraway country, You don't know about it's most simple things - said Heydar Aliyev, dispelling the tense situation.
And when he left, he turned to Khamenei, once again hinting at the inaccuracy of the Iranian side from the point of view of Protocol:
- I think one of the advantages of our meeting today was that You found out that the official language of Azerbaijan is not Russian.
In response to the words, reached his goal, the Supreme religious leader of Iran said only:
And forgive Allah."
*From the second part of the six-volume of Milli Meclis Deputy Elmira Akhundova under the name "Heydar Aliyev: Personality and time"
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