Iran rebukes Azeri envoy over terror plot

Azeri ambassador summoned to Iranian Foreign Ministry following arrest of 22 suspects allegedly connected to Revolutionary Guards: ‘Zionist agents attempt to incriminate Iran’

Azeri Ambassador to Iran, Avanshir Akhundov, was summoned to Iranian Foreign Ministry offices on Saturday for a reprimand over the Azeris’ arrest of 22 people allegedly hired by Iran to carry out terrorist attacks against US and Israeli embassies. The suspects were trained in Iran by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, an Azeri announcement said.

According to a report by Iran’s IRNA news agency, it was suggested in the meeting that agents of the Zionist regime were trying to incriminate Iranians. “It was regretted that Azerbaijan is taking part in this affair,” the report stated.

Soldier in Baku (archives) Photo: Reuters Photo: Reuters

Soldier in Baku (archives) - Photo: Reuters

Azeri authorities announced this week that 22 Azeri citizens, trained in Iran and suspected of plotting to attack Israeli and US embassies and companies had been arrested. It was suggested the suspects had links with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

According to the Azeri National Security Ministry, the suspects were recruited in 1999 and trained in military bases near Tehran. “They trained with weapons and explosives, and learned methods of infiltrating secured buildings,” the statement said.

According to the allegations, the suspects provided Iran with specific addresses of embassies and foreign organizations in Azerbaijan. The ministry also revealed that at the time of their arrest, they were caught with weapons, ammunition, explosives and spy equipment.

Azerbaijan, a Shiite Muslim state with strong ties with Israel, was marked in the past as a prominent location for Iran and Hezbollah attempts to hit Israeli targets. A plot to assassinate the Israeli ambassador Michael Lotem and other Israeli targets was foiled in January.

During his visit to Tehran last week, Azeri Defense Minister Safar Abiyev promised his country will not allow an attack on Iran from its territory.

The Azeri ambassador noted that his country wants to strengthen ties with Iran, and promised to pass Iran’s reservation to his government, according to reports.

 

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By Dudi Cohen

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