Iranian Denies Planning Attack on Israeli Embassy in Azerbaijan

BAKU (Reuters) -

An Iranian man arrested on suspicion of planning an attack on the Israeli embassy in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan denies the allegation, an Iranian diplomat said on Thursday.

Hassan Faraji, 31, is the latest in a number of Iranians to be accused of criminal plots in recent years in Azerbaijan, which has tense ties with its larger southern neighbor.

Faraji was detained near the Israeli embassy in the capital, Baku, on Oct. 31, but his arrest was only made public on Wednesday.

“Faraji had a detailed plan of an attack on personnel of the Israeli embassy… He put up  resistance to the police during a detention,” police said in a statement.

A court in Azerbaijan sentenced him to one month pre-trial detention, while Azeri and Israeli media reported that he had connections with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, an allegation an Iranian official denied.

Iranian embassy officials met Faraji in custody.

Azerbaijan arrested dozens of people last year on suspicion of connections with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, and of plotting attacks, including on the Israeli ambassador to Baku.

Iranian citizen Phaiz Bakhram Hassan was sentenced last month to 15 years in prison for an attempt to attack the Israeli embassy in Baku. He was arrested last year.