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Azerbaijan Detains 22 ‘Iran Spies’

RIA Novosti

17:35 14/03/2012

BAKU, March 14 (RIA Novosti) - Azerbaijan’s National Security Ministry has detained 22 people accused of spying for Iran and other crimes, the ministry said on Wednesday.

They had been secretly cooperating with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), “collecting and passing information that could harm Azerbaijan’s security,” and recruiting people for Iranian intelligence services.

They were charged with high treason and illegal acquisition and storage of firearms and ammunition.

The ministry did not say when they were detained.

Azerbaijan announced on February 22 it had uncovered a terrorist group with links to Iran’s IRGC and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. The group, led by an IRGC officer called Hamid and Hezbollah operative Hadji Abbas, was planning to stage attacks against the Israeli embassy and a Jewish cultural center in the Azeri capital Baku.

Ties between Tehran and Baku have deteriorated of late. In January, Azerbaijan said it had thwarted a terrorist plot against Israel’s envoy in Baku by two people allegedly linked to Iran’s intelligence services.

In February Tehran accused Baku of providing support to people who had killed an Iranian nuclear scientist.

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