Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Azeri ambassador on Sunday, accusing its neighbor Azerbaijan of collaborating with Israel’s spy services and facilitating the assassins who have killed Iranian nuclear scientists in recent years.
The foreign ministry summoned Azerbaijan’s ambassador in Tehran, Javanshir Akhundov, to protest against the alleged collaboration and demand that Baku prevent Mossad from carrying out anti-Tehran “activities” on its soil.
“Some of the terrorists linked to the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists have travelled to Azerbaijan... (where they are) facilitated to travel to Tel Aviv,” the official IRNA news agency website said, quoting the ministry.
Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan was killed when two men on a motorcycle attached a magnetic bomb to his car on Jan 11. The thirty-two year old academic worked at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran.
At least four scientists associated with Iran’s nuclear program have been assassinated since 2010 and a fifth was wounded in a bomb attack. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Ahmadi-Roshan’s killing a “cowardly act” and accused the United States and Israel of responsibility.
The Islamic republic has repeatedly accused its arch-foes Israel and the United States of masterminding the assassinations.
Israel, widely seen as the prime suspect in the killings, neither denied nor confirmed involvement.
Relations between Tehran and Baku have taken a turn for the worse in recent months. In January, Azerbaijan said it had detained two people allegedly linked to Iranian intelligence accused of plotting attacks.
And in October 2011, Iran accused its northwestern neighbor’s security forces of shooting dead an Iranian border guard who had strayed into Azerbaijan.