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EU Agrees Sanctions Against Iran Intelligence Service

Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen speaks during a news conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, October 30, 2018.
Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen speaks during a news conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, October 30, 2018.

The European Union has agreed sanctions against an Iranian intelligence service for planning assassinations in Europe, Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen said on Tuesday.

"EU just agreed to enact sanctions against an Iranian Intelligence Service for its assassination plots on European soil. Strong signal from the EU that we will not accept such behavior in Europe," Samuelsen said on Twitter.

A suspected assassination attempt was uncovered against an Iranian-Arab dissident leader in Denmark in October. A Norwegian man of Iranian decent was arrested for being involved in the plot.

The attack was meant to target the leader of the Danish branch of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA), according to Danish intelligence officials.

ASMLA seeks a separate state for ethnic Arabs in Iran's oil-producing southwestern province of Khuzestan. Arabs are a minority in Iran, and some see themselves as under Persian occupation and want independence or autonomy.

Denmark said on October 30 it suspected the Iranian government intelligence service had tried to carry out an assassination on its soil. and called for fresh European Union-wide sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

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 have said.

The Netherlands also accused Iran on Tuesday of involvement in the murder of two dissidents on Dutch soil, adding that the EU was hitting Tehran with sanctions partly as a result of the killings.

The Dutch secret service "has strong indications that Iran was involved in the assassinations of two Dutch nationals of Iranian origin in Almere 2015 and in The Hague in 2017," Foreign Minister Stef Blok said in a letter to parliament.

"These individuals were opponents of the Iranian regime," he said in the letter, also signed by Dutch Interior Minister Kajsa Ollongren.

"The Netherlands considers it probable that Iran had a hand in the preparation or commissioning of assassinations and attacks on EU territory," the ministers said.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP