Iranian plot to assassinate dissidents in Denmark foiled

Denmark recalls ambassador from Tehran after extradition of Iranian suspect that plotted to attack Arab opposition party in Denmark.

October 30, 2018 21:39
2 minute read.
The flag of Denmark

The flag of Denmark. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Iranian agents plotted to assassinate a leader of a dissident group that fights for the fights of Arabs in southwest Iran.

A Norwegian citizen of Iranian origin allegedly traveled to Sweden on October 21 and was arrested. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thanked Denmark’s government for arresting the “Iranian regime assassin” on Tuesday.

According to reports in The Guardian and Saudi Gazette, one perpetrator was arrested in the plot. He was taken into custody and extradited to Denmark according to Finn Borch Andersen, head of the Danish Security Service.

The search for the alleged assassin, who was thought to be in Denmark on September 28, led to a major security operation between Denmark and Sweden. The unprecedented action took place as police hunted a Swedish citizen that was apparently seen near the home of a dissident activist from the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz. Denmark closed the Oresund bridge that links Denmark to Sweden and the Great Belt bridge, linking the Danish island of Zealand with the mainland, effectively cutting off Copenhagen and the island around it.

Denmark closed its borders and used dog and helicopters to seek the suspect. Eventually the suspect was found, not in Denmark, but in Sweden on October 21. The suspect had photos of houses and apartments of dissidents from ASMLA. The suspect denied the charges. “We are dealing with an Iranian intelligence agency planning an attack on Danish soil," Andersen said at a press conference. Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen condemned the incident as “completely unacceptable" and Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said that Copenhagen would work closely with the UK and other country to "stand up to Iran."

The plot joins other Iranian-backed attacks and incidents in Europe. On October 26 France expelled an Iranian diplomat over a plot in June to attack an opposition rally. In connection to the same case Germany has backed the extradition of Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat based in Austria and detained in Germany. He may be extradited to Belgium. In the complex June plot a bomb was supposed to be delivered to a couple who would bomb the opposition event in France. The case spans Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany and France. In November 2017 an activist named Ahmad Mola Nissi from ASMLA was assassinated in Holland. In September an attack in Iran targeting a military parade was blamed an the Ahwaz movement but Tehran later accused ISIS of the terrorist attack. Nevertheless Iran wants to crack down on opposition groups. It has fired ballistic missiles at Kurds in Iraq and is hunting dissidents online and globally.

The arrest in Denmark comes as US sanctions are about the increase on November 4. Pompeo congratulated Denmark on its arrested. “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,” the US Secretary of State tweeted.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi has responded that Denmark’s actions are biased.  He told the press that Iran rejected accusations it was involved in the plot.

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