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Iran Denies Involvement With Nigerian Terror Suspects

  • VOA News

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Dec. 18, 2012.

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Dec. 18, 2012.

Iran has denied connection to three militants arrested in Nigeria with alleged ties to an Iranian terror cell that plotted attacks against U.S. and Israeli sites in Nigeria.

Iran's deputy foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian,
said Friday that such allegations were merely the result of poor relations between Iran and the West. He said relations between Iran and Nigeria are "developing."

On Wednesday, Nigerian authorities announced they had arrested three people, including Abdullahi Mustapha Berende, a Shi'ite sect member who is believed to be the leader of the group. He has told authorities he initially travelled to Iran in 2006 to study Shi'ite Islamic teachings at a university. Berende was detained in December, but the capture was not announced until this week.

A state security spokeswoman said authorities are looking for a fourth suspect.

Authorities in Nigeria believe Berende recruited the three other suspects to target facilities in Lagos.

Berende has told authorities he did seek out some information about some people and institution, but did not take part in espionage or terror-related activities.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.