Azerbaijan arrests five people accused of spying for Iran

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Azerbaijan arrests five people accused of spying for Iran

Baku says the five Azerbaijani nationals had been gathering information about the military and its drones.

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Last week, with tensions between the two countries rising, the Iranian foreign ministry handed Azerbaijan’s envoy a note of protest over ‘anti-Iran’ comments by Baku officials [File: Lisi Niesner/Reuters]

Published On 14 Nov 202214 Nov 2022

Azerbaijan has arrested five of its nationals for spying for Iran after a rise in tensions between the neighbours, which regard each other with mutual suspicion.

The announcement of the arrests came on Monday after Baku and Tehran accused each other last week of hostile rhetoric.

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Baku’s security services said the arrests were made as part of “measures aimed at countering intelligence-disruptive activities carried out by Iranian secret services against Azerbaijan”.

It said the five people had been gathering information about the military, including the procurement of Israeli and Turkish drones and the country’s energy infrastructure.

Earlier this month, the Baku authorities arrested 17 men they said belonged to an “illegal armed group set up by Iran on Azerbaijani territory”.

‘Threatening rhetoric’

On Friday, Azerbaijan summoned the Iranian ambassador to complain about “threatening rhetoric” coming from Tehran.

The day before, the Iranian foreign ministry had handed Azerbaijan’s envoy a note of protest over “anti-Iran” comments by Baku officials.

Iran, home to millions of ethnic Azerbaijanis, has long accused its smaller northern neighbour of fuelling separatist sentiment on its territory.

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Baku has also been angered by its ambitions to set up a transport link along the Armenian-Iranian border, which would connect mainland Azerbaijan to its exclave of Nakhichevan and Turkey.

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Category: News View 45