Tehran Says Israeli Accusation of Iranian Plot in Turkey Is 'Ridiculous'

Israel's 'ridiculous' allegation that Iran was planning to harm Israelis in Istanbul was a 'pre-designed scenario to destroy relations between' Turkey and Iran, Iranian spokesperson says

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Two Turkish riot police officers walk in front of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, last week.
Two Turkish riot police officers walk in front of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, last week.Credit: YASIN AKGUL - AFP

Iran said on Friday Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s accusation of an Iranian plot to harm Israelis in Istanbul was "ridiculous" and aimed at damaging Iranian-Turkish relations.

At a news conference in Ankara on Thursday, Lapid thanked his host Turkey for helping abort a suspected Iranian plot against Israelis in Istanbul and said the effort was still underway.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh was quoted in a ministry tweet as saying Lapid’s “ridiculous” allegation was a “pre-designed scenario to destroy relations between the two Muslim countries", referring to Turkey and Iran.

At the news conference Lapid said that “In recent weeks, the lives of Israeli citizens have been saved thanks to security and diplomatic cooperation between Israel and Turkey," adding that the effort is ongoing.

"Israel won’t sit idly by when there are attempts to harm its citizens in Israel and around the world,” Lapid stated, adding that finishing the process of allowing Israeli airlines to fly directly to both Istanbul and the Turkish coast remains a clear priority.

"Our partnership with Turkey is strong, and it's carried out on all levels. We have a common interest, and that is to prevent and thwart terror attacks in order to restore order," Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said.

A report published on Thursday said that last week Turkish police detained nearly ten suspects, including Iranian intelligence agents and Revolutionary Guards disguised as students and businesspeople, under suspicion of planning targeted attacks on Israeli diplomats and tour groups in Istanbul. In addition, Israel issued last week an unusual warning, calling on Israelis to leave Turkey as soon as possible.

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