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Iran Questioning Azerbaijani Nationals On Espionage Charges

Source: RFE/RL

Iran's state English language Press TV is reporting that officials have interrogated two Azerbaijan nationals on espionage charges. The station cites accusations that the two were on a mission to recruit a number of dissidents in Iran to promote separatism.

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The report said the two were arrested in May.

It identified them as Shahryar Hajizadeh and Farid Husseinov and claimed they are linked to Azerbaijan's secret services.

Press TV said the two entered Iran under cover of cultural activities.

Tensions have escalated between the two nations over a number of issues including Azerbaijan's accusations that Iran plotted terrorist attacks in Baku.

Earlier this year, Azerbaijan arrested 22 and accused them of spying for Iran.

Ties have also been strained recently over reported closer ties between Azerbaijan and Iranian rival Israel.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (right) welcomes his Israeli counterpart, Shimon Peres, in Baku in June 2009.

Based on reporting by Press TV, AP, and Reuters

Copyright (c) 2012 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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