Thursday, 27 June, 2019

Zarif: European countries have given shelter to anti-Iran terrorists

EU agrees sanctions against Iranian intelligence service over ‘assassination plot’ – Danish FM Iran behind two assassinations in Netherlands – minister
Patty Aguilar | 09 January, 2019, 16:46

It also froze the assets of the directorate for internal security of the Iranian ministry for intelligence and security.

Denmark led efforts for sanctions after allegations that Tehran tried to kill three Iranian dissidents on Danish soil.

The Dutch government had "strong indications that Iran was involved in the assassinations of [the] two Dutch nationals of Iranian origin" in 2015 and 2017 Dutch foreign minister Set Blok said in a letter to the Dutch parliament justifying Tuesday's move.

In a statement posted on social media, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the Netherlands and other European countries of harbouring members of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), which was once designated as a terrorist group by the United States.

In late October, Danish security forces said they had arrested a man who was allegedly plotting to assassinate the leader of the Danish branch of an Iranian Arab separatist movement.

The Dutch government said that, based on information collected by its General Intelligence and Security Service, "the Netherlands considers it probable that Iran had a hand in the preparation or commission of assassinations and attacks on European Union territory", including the killing of two Dutch nationals of Iranian origin in the cities of Almere in 2015 and in The Hague in 2017.

The new sanctions were a "strong signal from the EU" that it "would not accept" assassination plots on its territory, Denmark's foreign minister Anders Samuelsen said.

"When the sanctions were announced, the Netherlands, together with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Denmark and Belgium met Iranian authorities", Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said. "If such cooperation is not forthcoming, further sanctions can not be ruled out", Blok added.

France accused Iranians of an attempt to bomb a rally of regime opponents outside Paris in June.

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Tehran has time and again strongly denied any involvement in the purported plots, saying the accusations were merely meant to damage EU-Iran relations amid efforts to save the 2015 deal following Washington's withdrawal.

"We have always been 99 per cent sure it was the Iranian regime but the Dutch government never revealed any information", she told The Telegraph.

He said Iran would take reciprocal measures in response, without elaborating.

The Danish Foreign Ministry named the two employees as the deputy minister and director general of intelligence, Saeid Hashemi Moghadam, and Assadollah Asadi, a Vienna-based diplomat.

France past year imposed sanctions on two suspected Iranian agents and others from Iran's intelligence and security ministry.

The US and Israel were quick to welcome the anti-Iran move.

"Accusing Iran won't absolve Europe of responsibility for harboring terrorists", he wrote. It has been less willing to consider sanctions, instead seeking talks with Tehran.

Jerusalem has been sharply critical of the European Union in the past for not following US President Donald Trump's lead and walking away from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, and for looking for ways to bypass new US sanctions against Iran.

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