The group was plotting to ‘set up a ‘resistance squad’ aimed at establishing a Sharia state in Azerbaijan through armed unrest’
Azerbaijan announced on Thursday that six men were arrested on suspicion of being recruited by Iran to plot a coup.
The arrests came after months of diplomatic tensions between Baku and Tehran with their relations worsening even more after Azebaijan has recently opened a permanent embassy in Israel. Earlier in February, Baku arrested nearly 40 suspects in connection to Iran’s “espionage network.”
The six arrested on Thursday are Azerbaijani nationals. According to a joint statement issued by the country’s interior ministry, state security service and prosecutor-general’s office, they were “recruited by Iranian secret services to destabilize the situation in the country.”
Moreover, the group was plotting to “set up a ‘resistance squad’ aimed at establishing a Sharia state in Azerbaijan through armed unrest and violent overthrow of Azerbaijan’s constitutional order,” the statement said.
It added that the arrested suspects were “engaged in a pro-Iranian propaganda of religious radicalism, fulfilling orders from abroad to undermine Azerbaijan’s tradition of tolerance.” According to Baku, they promoted “radical Islam” using money from drug profits.
Earlier in January, Azerbaijan suspended the operation of its embassy in Iran. The move came days after a gunman attacked the mission, killing one guard and wounding two others, which Baku blamed on Tehran’s secret services.