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Iran’s FM to visit Turkey after alleged plot to target Israelis in Istanbul

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian to hold talks in Ankara days after Israel’s Yair Lapid visited, suspected Iranian cell members were arrested

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian speaks during a press conference with the EU's top diplomat, at the foreign ministry headquarters in Iran's capital Tehran on June 25, 2022. (Atta Kenare/AFP)
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian speaks during a press conference with the EU's top diplomat, at the foreign ministry headquarters in Iran's capital Tehran on June 25, 2022. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

ANKARA, Turkey — Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian will visit Ankara on Monday after Tehran dismissed as “ridiculous” allegations by Israel that the Islamic Republic was planning anti-Israeli attacks in Turkey.

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.

“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.

According to Lapid and other Israeli authorities, significant intelligence had indicated that Iran was seeking to carry out attacks against Israeli tourists in Turkey to avenge a series of killings and strikes on Iranian military and nuclear targets that have been attributed to the Jewish state.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, right, and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid speak to the media after their talks, in Ankara, Turkey, June 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

A senior security official briefing Hebrew media on Friday said that the Mossad and local counterparts thwarted three Iranian attacks targeting Israeli civilians in Istanbul in recent days.

Iran has 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 Friday in a statement.

Israel last week called on its citizens to leave Turkey because of the “real and immediate danger” coming from Iranian operatives. According to reports Sunday, Israel may ease the travel warning for Turkey after the alleged Iranian attack plot was apparently foiled.

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