Iran summons Danish envoy over assassination plot allegations

Iran summons Danish envoy over assassination plot allegations
Denmark has said Tehran was behind an intelligence plot to kill an Ahwazi activist.
3 min read
31 October, 2018
Iran has summoned the Danish ambassador over the assassination plot [Getty]
Iran summoned the Danish ambassador on Wednesday over the arrest of an Iranian-Norwegian national for allegedly plotting to kill activists living in Denmark.

"The Danish ambassador arrived at the foreign ministry this morning," foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said in a statement.

"In this meeting the official strongly denied the biased reports on a foiled attack plot on an Iranian dissident in Denmark and its attribution to the Islamic republic of Iran," Ghasemi said, adding that he had met with other European officials over the claims.

The official also warned against "hasty and controversial actions" by European nations.

Denmark accused Iranian agents of being behind a plot to assassinate an Arab separatist activists in the country, the government said on Tuesday.

"An Iranian intelligence agency has planned an assassination on Danish soil. This is completely unacceptable. In fact, the gravity of the matter is difficult to describe. That has been made crystal clear to the Iranian ambassador in Copenhagen today," said Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen on Tuesday.

It follows the uncovering of an alleged assassination plot against at least one activist from the Danish branch of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz (ASMLA), a group seeking independence for an Arabic-speaking area of Iran.

A Norwegian citizen of Iranian background was arrested earlier this month in an investigation into the alleged plot.
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Anne Moller Ege told CNN that the Iranian agents planned to kill a senior member of the Arab separatist movement.

Danish intelligence chief Finn Borch Andersen also confirmed the plot.

"We are dealing with an Iranian intelligence agency planning an attack on Danish soil. Obviously, we can't and won't accept that," Danish intelligence chief Finn Borch Andersen said.

The country shut down bridges and ferries to Sweden on 28 September during a manhunt that mobilised hundreds of police and the military. 

Denmark ordered its ambassador to Iran home following the foiled plot.

"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.

"It is the Iranian government, it is the Iranian state that is behind" the plot, Samuelsen said.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US approved of Denmark's tough action against Iran.

"We congratulate the government of Denmark on its arrest of an Iranian regime assassin. For nearly 40 years, Europe has been the target of Iran-sponsored terrorist attacks. We call on our allies and partners to confront the full range of Iran's threats to peace and security," Pompeo wrote on Twitter.

The US has been pressuring European states to cut ties with Iran, over its nuclear and missile programmes.

Washington and several European states were part of a nuclear agreement with Iran, until President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the deal earlier this year.

The Ahwazi are fighting for a separate state in Arabic-speaking Ahvaz province, with a number of militants attacks launched in Iran - mostly against infrastructure.

Tehran accused Denmark, along with the Netherlands and the UK, of "hosting several members of the terrorist group" that Iran holds responsible for an attack in the city of Ahvaz in southwestern Iran that killed 24 people.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for that attack.