Den­mark re­calls am­bas­sador to Iran over foiled ‘at­tack’: For­eign min­is­ter

The Gulf Today - - MIDDLE EAST -

COPEN­HAGEN: Den­mark on Tues­day re­called its am­bas­sador to Iran after it ac­cused Tehran of plot­ting a foiled ‘at­tack’ against three Ira­ni­ans liv­ing in the Scan­di­na­vian coun­try.

“I have de­cided to re­call Den­mark’s am­bas­sador in Tehran for con­sul­ta­tions... Den­mark can in no way ac­cept that peo­ple with ties to Iran’s in­tel­li­gence ser­vice plot at­tacks against peo­ple in Den­mark,” Dan­ish For­eign Min­is­ter An­ders Sa­muelsen told re­porters.

Den­mark said on Tues­day it sus­pected an Ira­nian in­tel­li­gence ser­vice had tried to carry out a plot to as­sas­si­nate an Ira­nian Arab op­po­si­tion ig­ure on its soil.

A Nor­we­gian ci­ti­zen of Ira­nian back­ground was ar­rested in Swe­den on Oct.21 in con­nec­tion with the plot and ex­tra­dited to Den­mark, Swedish se­cu­rity po­lice said.

The Nor­we­gian has de­nied the charges and Tehran also re­jected the al­le­ga­tions on Tues­day.

The at­tack was meant to tar­get the leader of the Dan­ish branch of the Arab Strug­gle Move­ment for the Lib­er­a­tion of Ah­vaz (ASMLA), Dan­ish in­tel­li­gence chief Finn Borch An­der­sen said.

ASMLA seeks a sep­a­rate state for eth­nic Arabs in Iran’s oil-pro­duc­ing south­west­ern province of Khuzes­tan.

“We are deal­ing with an Ira­nian in­tel­li­gence agency plan­ning an at­tack on Dan­ish soil. Ob­vi­ously, we can’t and won’t ac­cept that,” An­der­sen told a news con­fer­ence.

Ira­nian for­eign min­istry spokesman Bahram Qasemi dis­missed the ac­cu­sa­tions. “This is a con­tin­u­a­tion of en­e­mies’ plots to dam­age Ira­nian re­la­tions with Europe at this crit­i­cal time,” Tas­nim news agency quoted him as say­ing.

Euro­pean coun­tries are try­ing to save a 2015 nu­clear deal be­tween Iran and world pow­ers after Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump with­drew the United States from the pact and an­nounced the reim­po­si­tion of sanc­tions on Tehran.

An­der­sen said the ar­rested Nor­we­gian ci­ti­zen had de­nied charges in court of help­ing a for­eign in­tel­li­gence ser­vice plot an as­sas­si­na­tion in Den­mark.

Arabs are a mi­nor­ity in Iran, and some see them­selves as un­der Per­sian oc­cu­pa­tion and want in­de­pen­dence or au­ton­omy.

Dan­ish For­eign Min­is­ter An­ders Sa­muelsen said on Twit­ter that the re­ported at­tack plot was “com­pletely un­ac­cept­able”.

“The government will re­spond to Iran and is speak­ing with Euro­pean part­ners on fur­ther mea­sures,” Sa­muelsen said.

On Sept.28, Dan­ish po­lice shut two ma­jor bridges to trafic and halted ferry ser­vices from Den­mark to Swe­den and Ger­many in a na­tion­wide po­lice op­er­a­tion to pre­vent a pos­si­ble at­tack.

A few days ear­lier, the Nor­we­gian suspect had been ob­served pho­tograph­ing and watch­ing the Dan­ish home of the ASMLA leader, po­lice said.

In Novem­ber 2017, Ah­mad Mola Nissi, an Ira­nian ex­ile who es­tab­lished ASMLA, was shot dead in the Nether­lands. The Dan­ish se­cu­rity ser­vice then bol­stered po­lice pro­tec­tion of the ASMLA leader in Den­mark and two as­so­ci­ates.

Last month, Iran sum­moned the en­voys of the Nether­lands, Den­mark and Bri­tain over a Sept.22 shoot­ing at­tack on a mil­i­tary pa­rade in Khuzes­tan in which 25 peo­ple were killed.

Iran ac­cused the three coun­tries of har­bour­ing Ira­nian op­po­si­tion groups.

File photo/as­so­ci­ated Press

In this file photo dated Sept.24, fam­i­lies of vic­tims of ter­ror at­tack on a mil­i­tary pa­rade in the south­west­ern city of Ah­vaz that killed 25 peo­ple mourn at a mass fu­neral cer­e­mony in Ah­vaz, Iran.

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