September 24, 2023

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Iran dismisses links to people arrested in Azerbaijan

TEHRAN – Nasser Kanaani, the spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, on Thursday reacted to allegations by Azerbaijan that it had arrested a number of individuals with links to Iran, saying Iran didn’t have any links to them.

Kanaani said Azerbaijan’s security apparatus and prosecutor-general have been leveling “chain of accusations” against Iran.

“Unfortunately, the government of the Republic of Azerbaijan has been arresting and keeping its citizens in custody for some time on a charge and bogus allegation of links with Iranian institutions,” he said in a statement, according to Tasnim.

He said Iran did not have any official or unofficial ties to the detained persons.

“The popular relationships between the citizens of the two countries are heartfelt, emotional, historical, religious and even family-based. The government of the Republic of Azerbaijan should not attribute such deep-rooted and historical bonds of its nationals to security issues or associate them with neighbors,” Kanaani added.

Kanaani noted that every government has the inherent right to take action against the law-breaking citizens, but made it clear that Baku’s move to arrest and imprison many citizens by making the allegation of connection with Iran is inadmissible and unacceptable.

The Republic of Azerbaijan’s interior ministry, security service and the office of prosecutor general said in a joint statement on Tuesday that at least nine Azeri nationals have been arrested, suspected of being “linked to Iranian secret services and of plotting a coup and assassinations”.

The statement gave nine names and said several other people had been arrested.

Earlier this month, Kanaani praised the strength of relations between Iran and Azerbaijan despite the recent tensions that resulted in a tit-for-tat expulsion of each other’s diplomats.

He said, “The relationships between the two countries are unbreakable, and we should not take any actions that are not in the interests of the two countries but are in the interests of the parties who want to harm those relations.”

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