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Iranian FM Amir-Abdollahian to visit Turkey

Iran’s top diplomat Hossein Amir-Abdollahian is expected to visit Turkey on Monday after Tehran rejected “ridiculous” allegations by Israel that it was planning to target its citizens in the country.

Amir-Abdollahian “will pay a visit to Turkey” on Monday for talks on bilateral issues as well as current regional and international developments,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

The visit comes four days after Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid – set to assume the helm of a caretaker government – thanked Turkey for foiling an alleged Iranian assassination plot against its citizens in Istanbul.

Last week, Turkey detained eight members of an alleged Iranian cell who were plotting to kill Israelis including a former ambassador, ahead of Lapid’s visit to Ankara. A report by Ihlas News Agency (IHA) said that suspects have been monitoring Israelis in the city for a while. The suspects reportedly traveled to Turkey posing as business people, tourists and students and were divided into two cells. They were under surveillance for the past two months.

“We are full of appreciation for the Turkish government for this professional and coordinated activity,” Lapid said after talks in Ankara Thursday designed to highlight a thaw in relations between the two occasional regional rivals.

On Friday, Iran denied the “baseless” claims.

“The baseless allegations … are ridiculous and part of a pre-designed plot to destroy relations between the two Muslim countries,” foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement.

Israel last week called on its citizens to leave Turkey because of the “real and immediate danger” coming from Iranian operatives.

In February, media outlets reported that MIT uncovered a plot directed by Iran to assassinate an Israeli-Turkish businessperson using a network of alleged hitmen. Yair Geller, an Istanbul-based tycoon with investments in the machine and defense industries, was the target of the nine-person network following his every move. MIT’s counterintelligence branch discovered that Iran’s intelligence agency put together a network in Turkey to target Geller, allegedly in response to the 2020 “assassination” of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in what Tehran deemed an Israeli operation. In 2021, MIT also discovered an espionage network controlled by Mossad and a six-person Russian espionage team planning to assassinate dissidents in Turkey.

Also in 2021, a team of Iranian spies accused of plotting to kidnap a former Iranian military official in Turkey was captured. In February 2021, an Iranian citizen was arrested for helping plan the murder of Iranian dissident Masoud Molavi Vardanjani in Istanbul 2019.

Neighbors Turkey and Iran maintain close ties and last year, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu pledged to boost security cooperation between the two countries on human trafficking, terrorism and other issues.

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Written by Info Center

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