File photo shows two Azeri nationals after they were arrested.
Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast says Tehran has released the two Azeri nationals who were arrested in early May on charges of espionage-related activities.
“Today, on Tuesday afternoon, the two individuals were handed over to the Consulate of the Republic of Azerbaijan in [the Iranian northwestern city of] Tabriz, based on the friendly and brotherly ties between the two countries,” said Mehmanparast at a Tuesday press conference in Iran's capital city, Tehran.
The two detainees, Shahryar Hajizadeh and Farid Husseinov, who were arrested due to their “unconventional connections” during their trip to Iran a few months ago, were released on Islamic grounds upon the requests by the high-ranking Azeri officials from Iran, the Iranian diplomat said.
Mehmanparast noted that the requests were made during the last-month visit of Iran's Minister of Education Hamidreza Haji-Babaei to Baku to submit Iran's invitation for the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, and at another meeting with Iran's deputy foreign minister for Asia-Pacific and the Commonwealth Affairs Abbas Araqchi on August 24.
Hajizadeh and Husseinov entered Iran under the pretense of representing a cultural institution through a fake invitation prepared and sent to them by their Iranian accomplice. On this assignment, they obtained confidential information and images from the strategic locations and facilities.