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Nigeria: Iran Denies Allegations of Organising Spy Cell

22 Feb 2013

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220213T.Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.jpg - 220213T.Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.jpg

Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian

REUTERS

Iran denied on Friday Nigerian allegations that it had trained militants arrested in Nigeria on charges of planning attacks on U.S. and Israeli targets there.

Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said such allegations were "made up as the result of the ill will of the enemies of the two countries' good relations", Iranian state television reported.

"Iran and Nigeria have friendly and close relations and despite the vast efforts of the two countries' enemies in recent years relations and cooperations have always improved," he said.

Nigeria's secret service said on Thursday it had arrested Abdullahi Mustapha Berende and two other Nigerians in December after Berende made several suspicious trips to Iran, where he interacted with Iranians in a "high-profile terrorist network".

It said Berende and his Iranian handlers were involved in "grievous crimes" against Nigeria's national security.

Berende, who will now be charged in court, told reporters at the Nigerian secret service's headquarters on Wednesday that he had carried out surveillance for the Iranians, reports Reuters.

In 2004, Israeli sources said an Iranian diplomat was arrested on suspicion of spying on the Israeli embassy in Nigeria's capital Abuja. Tehran denied any arrest.

In 2010, authorities at a Lagos port found a hidden shipment of rockets, rifle rounds and other weapons from Iran, supposedly bound for Gambia. A Nigerian and an Iranian face criminal charges over the shipment.

Tags: News, Nigeria, Featured, Iran, SPY CELL

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