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Iran Releases Two Azeris Arrested on Spying Charges, Trend Says

Iran released two Azeris arrested in May on espionage charges in the north-western city of Tabriz, the privately owned Trend news service reported, citing Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry.

Farid Huseynov and Sahriyar Hacizada, known in Azerbaijan as poets, should be transferred to Baku tomorrow, according to the report today. Elman Abdullayev, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Azerbaijan’s National Security Ministry sent Huseynov and Hacizada to north-western Iran to recruit dissidents and promote separatism, Iran’s English-language state television channel, Press TV, said in July. The two men obtained confidential information and images of “strategic locations and facilities” in Tabriz, it said, citing an unidentified local official.

Relations between the two nations have deteriorated since Azerbaijan said in February and March that it had foiled attempts by Iranian-backed groups to carry out terrorist attacks against Israeli and Western targets. Iran responded by accusing Azerbaijan of working with Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency in operations against Iran.

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