Azerbaijan's National Security Ministry reported on 19 January that it had detained members of a gang which was planning to assassinate foreigners in Baku. The ministry said that the gang leader, Balagardash Dadashov, was collaborating with the Iranian secret services.
The Iranian embassy in Baku issued a statement today, categorically denying the reports about collaboration and officially declaring that the Iranian leadership and government consider Azerbaijan as a friendly and brotherly, neighbouring country.
Iran's policy towards Azerbaijan has always been one of partnership and confidence and is based on constructive cooperation in all spheres, the embassy claimed.
"Iran has always supported the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and expressed this position in all international forums. It will stick to this position in the future. But our strategic and friendly relationship is not clearly perceived by all, so hostile forces from time to time try to sow discord between our countries," the embassy said.
"It is evident that by accusing Iran of ties with terrorists, these forces are trying to cover up their crimes, which they carried out recently against Iranian scientists. We have no doubt that recent events have been prepared by our enemies, dealing a blow to Iran's international image and focus on the deterioration of relations between the two countries.
"We believe that the glorious people of Azerbaijan understands that this part of the script of Iranophobia and Islamophobia is organized by the Zionists and the United States.
"Given that the two leaders aim at deepening and broadening relations between the countries, it is obvious that such scenarios will not affect strategic Iranian-Azerbaijani relations.
"In the propagation of such statements and to avoid steps that are not supported by the two heads of state, it is necessary to be more vigilant, attentive and serious," the statement says.