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Denmark Summons Saudi Envoy Over Spying And Terror Plot

Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod has condemned funding of an Iranian separatist group by Saudi Arabia. FILE PHOTO

The Danish Foreign Ministry on Wednesday summoned the Saudi ambassador after terrorism charges were brought against three leaders of an Iranian Arab separatist group based in Denmark.

"We will not accept such activities under any circumstances and our ambassador in Riyadh has repeated the same message directly to the Saudi authorities," Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said in a statement.

In a tweet on June 10 Kofod said he has spoken with Saudi Arabia's foreign minister and made it "crystal clear that the Danish government does not accept any terror-related activities on Danish soil and that the government considers the matter with the greatest seriousness".

The trio who are members of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz (ASMLA) were arrested by the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) in February on suspicion of spying for Saudi Arabia in Denmark and receiving funds from them to finance and promote terrorism in Iran.

Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) have also accused Iran of planning the assassination of the leader of the Danish branch of ASMLA on Danish soil in October 2018 in retaliation for the killing of 24 people in Ahvaz, southwestern Iran, in September 2018.

Iran has vehemently denied all these allegations but the EU imposed some sanctions against Iranian intelligence services for killings and attempted killings in Denmark, the Netherlands and France in January 2019.

ASMLA advocates a separate Arab state in Iran's oil-rich southwestern Khuzestan province. Arabs are a minority in Iran, and some see themselves as under Persian occupation and want independence or autonomy. According to Danish intelligence service PET, the three members of ASMLA worked for Riyadh between 2012 and 2018. The group is based in Denmark and the Netherlands.

In September 2018 ASMLA claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on a military parade in Ahvaz, capital of oil-rich Khuzestan Province that killed 25 members of the Revolutionary Guard and civilian onlookers.