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Azerbaijan Arrests Armed Group With Alleged Ties to Iran’s Sepah

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March 14 (Bloomberg) -- Azerbaijan arrested members of an armed group it said collected intelligence about foreign embassies and companies, including BP Plc, for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, or Sepah.

The group received training and funding from Sepah to carry out terrorist attacks against the embassies of Israel, the U.S. and other western nations located in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, the Ministry of National Security said today in a statement. Twenty-two members of the group, all of them Azerbaijani nationals, have been arrested, it said.

The ministry last month uncovered a terrorist group with alleged ties to Sepah and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, detaining suspects who’d acquired weapons and were planning attacks against foreign embassies and nationals in Baku, state television channel AzTV reported Feb. 21.

It dismissed accusations that the latest arrests were part of a government clampdown on religious activists. The banned Islamic Party of Azerbaijan, which the authorities say has links to Iran, said last month that more than 20 of its members were arrested on trumped-up charges.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zulfugar Agayev in Baku at zagayev@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Hellmuth Tromm at htromm@bloomberg.net

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