Creating new perspectives since 2009

Azerbaijan arrests nine in ‘coup plot’

May 17, 2023 at 8:54 am

Police take security measurements in Iran’s capital Tehran [Fatemeh Bahrami – Anadolu Agency]

Azerbaijan arrested at least nine of its own citizens on Tuesday over their suspected ties to Iranian secret services and for allegedly plotting a coup and assassinations, officials have revealed. The move coincides with the latest round of tension between Baku and Tehran following the expulsion of diplomats from both countries.

The interior ministry, the security service and the public prosecution said in a joint statement that Azerbaijani law enforcement arrested the suspects “who were working for the Iranian intelligence services.” The statement listed nine names, and said that several others had also been arrested.

This follows the arrest of six Azerbaijani nationals in a different case in April, on charges of being “recruited to work with Iranian intelligence to destabilise the situation in the country.”

Tehran fears that Israel, Azerbaijan’s main arms supplier, may use Azerbaijani territory to launch an offensive against Iran.

Relations between the neighbours were particularly strained in January, when a gunman stormed the Azerbaijan Embassy in Tehran, killing a diplomat and wounding two embassy guards. At the time, the Azerbaijani foreign ministry blamed Iran for the shooting, which the Iranian foreign ministry denied.

Earlier in May, Iran expelled four Azerbaijani diplomats. Its foreign ministry said the move was “in response” to Baku’s expulsion in April of employees working at the Iranian Embassy.

READ: Iran ups pressure on Taliban to resolve long-running water dispute