Azerbaijan arrests Iranian journalist

Police in Azerbaijan have arrested a journalist working for Iranian television on drugs charges, his brother said on Sunday, amid rising tensions between the two neighbours.

Anar Bayramli was arrested at his home in Baku on Friday, his brother Eldar Bayramli told AFP.

"They said my brother was detained in connection with drugs, but that is not logical. He does not even smoke cigarettes," Eldar Bayramli said.

The journalist works for Iran's Sahar television station, which has been accused of broadcasting propaganda into Azerbaijani territory.

His brother said that before the arrest, the reporter had also been summoned to the police station several times recently and questioned about his politics.

Tensions between the Islamic republic and its mainly Muslim but officially secular neighbour have increased in recent months, with anger in Tehran about Baku's friendly links with Israel and accusations from Azerbaijan that Iran has been sponsoring Islamic radicals on its territory.

Tehran this month accused Baku of collaborating with Israel's spy services and helping assassins who have killed Iranian nuclear scientists.

Baku rejected the claim as "slander", saying it was retaliation for its arrest of two men with alleged links to Iranian intelligence on suspicion of plotting to kill prominent Israelis in Azerbaijan.

Relations between the ex-Soviet state and the Islamic republic are complicated by the presence of a huge ethnic Azeri minority in Iran, which far outnumbers Azerbaijan's own population of 9.2 million.

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