Suspected Iranian operative Hasan Faraji 370.
(photo credit: Screenshot Channel 10)
An Iranian national was arrested in Azerbaijan two weeks ago on the suspicion he was planning an attack on the Israeli embassy in Baku, Channel 10 reported on Wednesday.
Hasan Faraji, 31, was arrested by Azerbaijani police after displaying “suspicious behavior” while wandering around the Israeli embassy in Baku on October 31. Faraji, who resisted arrest, was sentenced to 30 days of administrative detention, according to the APA news agency.
According to Channel 10, Faraji is a part of the Iranian Quds Forces, a special unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard that, among other oles, is tasked with planning and executing terrorist attacks against Israeli targets overseas.
On Thursday an Iranian diplomat said Faraji denies he was planning any attack.
“This information does not correspond to the reality,” the Iranian embassy spokesman, who did not want to be named, told Reuters. Iranian embassy officials met Faraji in custody.
“He denies all charges and believes that his innocence will be proved during an investigation,” he said.
Azerbaijani police raided Faraji’s house, where it found plans and photographs indicating his intention to commit a series of terrorist attacks against Israelis at the embassy.
Iranian media accused Azerbaijani authorities of torturing Faraji to get a confession out of him of things he did not plan to do.
A spokesman for the Azerbaijani Interior Ministry told news agency APA that accusations of torture were “groundless.”
“Hasan Faraji did not complain of the detention conditions or treatment, and said he had not faced pressure, torture or actions insulting his honor and dignity,” Sadig Gozalov said.
“Israel and Azerbaijan have developed strong strategic ties. Israel benefits from having a Muslim ally on Iran’s border and Azerbaijan has gained a serious partner in the political, military and technology spheres,” stated Prof. Anna Geifman and Dima Course in a Perspectives Paper for the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA).
Geifman told The Jerusalem Post
that Azerbaijan is perceived as a friend of Israel, and the attack could confirm their thesis from the report that Azerbaijan is a friend of Israel, and therefore Iran wants instability in Azerbaijan.
Israel seeks relationships with moderate Muslim countries and Azerbaijan could replace Turkey, they said.
Iran has reportedly been involved in instigating unrest in Azerbaijan and foreign media reports say the country is a base for Western and Israeli military and intelligence activities against Iran, according to the report.
In October, Iranian Bahram Feyzi was sentenced to 15 years in jail for planning an attack on the Israeli embassy in Baku.
In May 2012, The Washington Post
reported on an Iranian- linked plot to assassinate US diplomats and terrorize the Jewish community in Azerbaijan.
And in February 2012, Azerbaijan announced that it had foiled a plot linked to Hezbollah and Iran in Baku.Yaakov Lappin and Reuters contributed to this report.