Iran demands evidence in Azerbaijan spy case

By Xinhua

Tehran : Iran on Sunday demanded neighboring Azerbaijan to provide evidence in the case that more than a dozen people were convicted of spying for Tehran on Western interests, the official IRNA news agency reported.

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Addressing reporters during a weekly press briefing, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini called on Azerbaijan to “provide Tehran with documents proving the accusations instead of acting on baseless charges.”

An Azerbaijan court on Dec. 10 convicted 15 people on charges that they had been cooperating with Iran’s secret services to mount a coup against the former Soviet republic.

The alleged chief plotter Said Dadashbeyli was sentenced to 14 years in prison while 14 others were handed sentences of between two and 14 years.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman blamed “certain foreign hands” for plotting to damage the ties between Iran and Azerbaijan, saying that “Tehran’s political will is to maintain and bolster ties with Baku.”

“We believe that certain foreign hands are trying to damage theexisting good relations between the two countries,” Hosseini said.” We should not let others damage Tehran-Baku relations.”

The Iranian Foreign Ministry also summoned the Azerbaijani ambassador to Tehran Abbasali Hassanov, calling for a formal apology for the statements made against Iran, IRNA reported.