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Iranian Court Refuses To Release Azerbaijani Scientist

TEHRAN -- A Tehran court has refused to grant bail to an Azerbaijani scientist being held on still-unclear charges, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Azerbaijani physicist Rashid Aliyev, who had worked for the Iranian Sazan Electronics Industry Company (SEIC), was arrested on October 5 upon arriving in Tehran from Azerbaijan.

Soltangamid Melikov, the chairman of the Committee to Protect Aliyev, told RFE/RL that SEIC President Abbas Iftihari had offered $100,000 in bail to the Iranian court to secure Aliyev's release, but that the court rejected the offer on November 13.

Melikov said no explanation was given by the court.

Aliyev is in Tehran's Evin prison and has been allowed to speak to his family once a week.

Aliyev, a top physicist at Baku State University, worked for the SEIC from 2006 to 2008.

He was invited to Iran by the SEIC last month when he was arrested.

Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Elkhan Polukhov said it has sent an official note to the Iranian Foreign Ministry asking for an explanation of Aliyev's arrest but has received no response.

The Iranian Embassy in Baku has refused to comment.