BERLIN – The Freedom Party, the Netherlands’s third-largest, has criticized The
Hague’s decision to return its ambassador to Tehran earlier this
The Dutch Foreign Ministry’s response to an extensive Freedom
Party query on relations with the Islamic Republic was exclusively obtained by
The Jerusalem Post last week.
The Freedom Party deputies suggested in one
question that sending the ambassador back to Tehran sent the “wrong message” to
The Dutch Foreign Ministry responded, “The ambassador was
called back for consultation as a sign of protest of the violent takeover of the
British Embassy on November 29. Italy, Germany and France also recalled their
ambassadors. This step was decided in close consultation with these countries
and the UK. Italy sent back its ambassador in mid- December, the rest did so in
the first week of January. It is in the interests of the countries involved to
keep the channels of dialogue open with the Iranian authorities.”
Freedom Party, led by Geert Wilders, poised hard-hitting questions to the
ministry about the apparent lack of solidarity with Britain.
agree that sending the ambassador back is a slap in the face of the UK, an ally,
whose embassy in Tehran was in a cowardly manner raided and plundered by people
directly under the command of the Basij militia? If not, why not?” the Freedom
Party deputies asked.
The Foreign Ministry answered “No.”
recalling the ambassador for consultation, the Netherlands stood in solidarity
with the UK, and the UK specifically expressed its appreciation for this. The
Netherlands has made it clear in the strongest terms to the Iranian regime that
it regards the raiding of the embassy as a serious matter,” the ministry
“The Netherlands is taking care of certain issues for the UK
while it is not represented in that country, as do other European
After Iranian militiamen stormed British diplomatic
facilities last year, including its embassy, the United Kingdom recalled its
ambassador and expelled Iranian diplomats from London. Britain also severed ties
with Iran’s Central Bank in November.
Dutch Foreign Minister Uri
Rosenthal and his British counterpart, William Hague, are the only top EU
diplomats to not rule out military action against Iran.
The Freedom Party
has a number of deputies who are well versed in the politics of the Middle East
region. Parliamentarian Wim Kortenoeven, 56, worked at Kibbutz Nahshon in 1976
and at Kibbutz Matzuva in 1981. He has authored several books on the region and
has challenged the jingoism and human rights violations of Turkey’s government
in international forums. This helps to explain the heightened scrutiny of Dutch
foreign policy decisions in Iran and across the Arab world.
Party also asked about Iran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz and its naval
exercises in the vital oil shipping corridor, as well its threats directed at
the American aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis. The Foreign Ministry
responded, “The Netherlands condemns these statements. The Netherlands remains
in close contact with the US and EU states and is monitoring the situation
following these statements. This concerns the main concern of the international
community: The Iranian nuclear program.
The Netherlands is working within
the EU framework for further enhancement of the sanctions package against Iran
so as to exert maximum pressure on that country to openly explain the nature of
its nuclear program.”
The ministry added, “Concerns about Iran’s words
and actions can be more forcefully brought forth if we are represented in
Beyond that, there are other interests, such as the interests of
individuals with Dutch citizenship, which need to be taken care
Cnaan Liphshiz contributed to this report.