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Azerbaijan Sentences 22 to Prison Over Iran Spying Charges

Oct. 9 (Bloomberg) -- An Azeri court today sentenced 22 people to prison terms over charges of spying for neighboring Iran.

The Baku Serious Crimes Court found the Azeri nationals guilty of treason and collaborating with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, Judge Alovsat Abbasov said by phone from the Azeri capital. They received prison sentences ranging from 10 years to 15 years, he said.

The energy-rich Caspian nation’s ties to Israel and the U.S. have caused tension with Iran. Azerbaijan said in March it arrested members of an armed group that collected intelligence about foreign embassies and companies, including BP Plc, for the Revolutionary Guard.

Azerbaijan has a 756 kilometer (470 mile) border with Iran and most of its population shares Iran’s Shiite Muslim religion.

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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