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Denmark Accuses Iran Of Plotting Political Assassination On Its Soil

RFE/RL's Radio Farda October 30, 2018

Denmark has accused Iran of plotting to assassinate an Iranian Arab opposition leader on the European Union member's territory and will discuss taking possible action against Tehran over the matter.

Danish intelligence head Finn Borch Andersen told journalists on October 30 that a man with a Norwegian passport and Iranian background is being held after he was arrested on October 21 in neighboring Sweden.

He was apprehended under suspicion of helping to plot an attack on the leader of the Danish branch of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of al-Ahvaz (ASMLA).

"It is totally unacceptable that Iran or any other foreign state plans assassinations on Danish soil. Further actions against Iran will be discussed in the EU," Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen said in a tweet.

Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen told reporters he had decided to recall Denmark's ambassador in Tehran for consultations.

The suspect and officials in Iran have denied the allegations.

Iran has previously objected to Denmark to the presence of members of ASMLA, which is seeking a separate state for ethnic Arabs in the southwestern Iranian province of Khuzestan.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi called the Danish allegations "a continuation of enemies' plots to damage Iranian relations with Europe at this critical time," according to the Tasnim news agency.

Several European countries, China, and Iran are in talks to salvage parts of a 2015 agreement with world powers to curb Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of global economic sanctions. The United States pulled out of the accord in May.

Khuzestan Province, home to around 80 percent of Iran's oil fields and 60 percent of the country's natural-gas reserves, borders Iraq. Ethnic Arabs, which in total make up about 3 percent of Iran's population, have long complained of social, political, and economic discrimination.

Iranian officials, who often blame foreign enemies for unrest in the country, have claimed in the past that Persian Gulf countries were provoking ethnic strife in Khuzestan by attempting to exploit the legitimate demands and grievances of the people.

Last month an attack on a military parade in the province killed 25 people and wounded dozens of others when gunmen dressed in army uniforms opened fire at a military parade in Khuzestan's capital, Ahvaz.

A separate Iranian Arab opposition group, the Ahwaz National Resistance, and the extremist group Islamic State both claimed responsibility for the parade attack.

Tehran summoned diplomats from Denmark, the Netherlands, and Britain for allegedly hosting members of groups suspected of links to government resistance.

In November 2017, an Iranian exile who established the ASMLA was killed in the Netherlands, prompting Danish security officials to increase police protection of several ASMLA officials.

With reporting by Reuters and AP

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/denmark-accuses-iran -of-plotting-political-assassination -on-its-soil/29573662.html

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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