(Updates with Azeri response in fourth paragraph.)
Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Azeri ambassador in Tehran to protest alleged Israeli intelligence activity in the oil-rich former Soviet republic, state-run Iranian Students News Agency reported today.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry’s department head for Commonwealth and Caucasus affairs gave a note of protest to Ambassador Cavansir Axundov after Azerbaijan “provided some facilities to individuals to travel to Tel Aviv and cooperate with Zionist spy networks,” ISNA said.
The Iranian official demanded the Azeri government prevent Mossad’s “espionage activities” inside the country, the news service said.
Azerbaijan dismissed the allegation. The Iranian move was retaliation for an Azeri protest note issued last month over an alleged plot by an Iranian-linked group to carry out terrorist attacks in Baku, Elman Abdullayev, a spokesman for the Azeri Foreign Ministry, said in a statement today.
Azerbaijan’s ties to Israel and the West have stoked tensions with Iran. Azerbaijan said last month it thwarted a terrorist plot against the Israeli ambassador in Baku by a group linked to Iran.
--Editors: Torrey Clark, Andrew Atkinson
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