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Azerbaijani Scholar, Her Driver Released From Iran Custody

Khalida Khalid in an undated photo
BAKU -- Azerbaijani scholar Khalida Khalid* and her driver have been released following nearly three weeks in Iranian custody after their detention at the home of an ethnic Azeri activist.

Azerbaijani lawmaker Eldar Ibrahimov, who is currently in Iran, told RFE/RL that the two Azerbaijani nationals were freed on May 19.

Iran's ambassador in Baku also confirmed that information.

Azerbaijan's consulate in Tabriz has been demanding the release of Khalid and her driver since their April 30 arrest in that city, along with four Iranian activists of Azerbaijani origin.

Relations between Baku and Tehran have been strained in recent months, and Iranian authorities are wary of ethnically charged grievances in the region.

Last year, two Azerbaijani citizens were arrested in Tabriz and held for several months for allegedly promoting separatism in the Iranian province of East Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan arrested 22 people last year and accused them of spying for Iran.

*CORRECTED: A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled Ms. Khalid's first and last names, omitting the "k."

With reporting by