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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Georgia Probes Reports of Iran Deal

TBILISI, Georgia -- The Georgian State Security Ministry said Saturday that it was investigating whether Georgian workers had gone to Iran to help refurbish that country's Su-25 warplanes.

The statement came after Georgian news media reported that the U.S. Embassy said about 50 Georgians had recently done such work. The Su-25, a ground attack jet, was made in Georgia.

Foreign Minister Irakli Mengarashvili said on Rustavi-2 television that Iran does not have a partnership arrangement with the jet factory that made the Su-25s. But State Security Ministry spokesman Nika Laliashvili noted that hard times at the plant had left thousands of its former employees out of work. "Thus it cannot be excluded that some group of specialists worked in Iran. Now a study of this question is being undertaken from the point of view of counterintelligence," he said by telephone.

The issue of Georgians doing military work there could be sensitive for the Tbilisi government, which has pursued close ties with the United States.