World Bulletin / News Desk
Iran has arrested two Azerbaijanis on charges of espionage, English-language Press TV reported on Tuesday, after months of rising tensions between the Caspian Sea neighbours.
"An official ... told Press TV that the collected evidence indicates that (they) entered Iran under the direction of the Republic of Azerbaijan's secret service known as MTN. They were supposed to recruit a number of dissidents in Iran to promote separatism," the report said.
The arrests, which Press TV said happened in May, are likely to add to tensions, already running high between the two countries.
Iran has accused Baku of helping Israel in what it says was the Jewish state's assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists - a claim Azerbaijan has denied.
"The methods employed by the two agents is identical to those Israel has long been trying to implement," the report said, adding that the men had obtained confidential information and images of strategic locations.
Tehran recalled its ambassador in May for consultations after anti-Iranian protest in Baku following Tehran's criticism of Azerbaijan's hosting of the flamboyant Eurovision Song Contest - capping months of accusations by the two countries of meddling in each other's affairs.
The Iranian envoy returned to Baku last month.
Azerbaijan has arrested dozens of people this year on suspicion of links to Iran's Revolutionary Guards, and of plotting attacks, including on the Israeli ambassador to Baku.
It barred a senior Iranian official from entering the country in May and jailed an Iranian reporter for two years for possession of drugs.
About 15 percent of Iranians are ethnic Azeris and there are strong linguistic and family cross-border ties.Last Mod: 04 Temmuz 2012, 10:01