European Union agrees sanctions against Iranian intelligence service over ‘assassination plot’ - Danish FM

Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said Iran was behind the assassinations

Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said Iran was behind the assassinations

France, which has already hit the two men and the ministry unit with sanctions, has said there was no doubt the Iranian intelligence ministry was behind a failed attack near Paris.

Copenhagen spearheaded the move following allegations that Iran had attempted to kill three opponents of the Iranian regime 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.

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif posted a tweet in response to the sanctions saying that "Europeans, incl Denmark, Holland & France, harbor MEK-who killed 12000 Iranians & abetted Saddam's crimes against Iraqi Kurds-as well as other terrorists staging murder of innocent Iranians from Europe", he said, referring to the exiled Iranian opposition group Mujaheedin-e Khalq.

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.

Iran ordered four terrorist attacks in Europe in recent times, the European Union has said, while imposing new sanctions.

"Iran was informed that involvement in such matters is entirely unacceptable and must be stopped immediately. further sanctions can not be ruled out", the letter said.

In October of past year, French authorities foiled plans to bomb a People's Mujahedeen Organization (MEK) rally outside of Paris - blaming the top echelon of Tehran officials. Iran has denied involvement. It said that the accusations were meant to damage EU-Iran relations.

The Dutch ministers said that at a meeting with Iranian officials "it was emphasised that the measures were not linked" to the Iran nuclear deal. The latter was dissident Iranian Arab activist Ahmad Mola Nissi who was gunned down by an unidentified assailant in front of his home in The Hague.

US President Donald Trump's administration has been cracking down on Iran, accusing it of sponsoring terrorism and violating global obligations.

The deputy minister and director general of intelligence is in Iran, while the Iranian diplomat was charged and is being held by Belgian authorities.

Pompeo's reaction came amid an EU-US rift on Iran after US leader Donald Trump walked out of the Iran nuclear arms control deal past year and threatened sanctions against EU firms who did business there. It has been less willing to consider sanctions, instead seeking talks with Tehran. Israel strongly opposes the agreement, which sought to curb Iran's ability to develop nuclear weapons in return for the lifting of sanctions.

The European Commission, while backing Denmark's accusation and condemning Tehran, has urged member states to not let it impact the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal of 2015.

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