Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during the annual Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany February 17, 2019.
(photo credit: ANDREAS GEBERT/REUTERS)
Iran expelled two Dutch diplomats earlier this month after the Netherlands accused Tehran of involvement in assassinations in the northwestern European nation.
Amsterdam also recalled its ambassador for consultations. Now, Iranian media have pushed a complex conspiracy alleging that the Dutch diplomats were spies and that one of them is Jew-ish and connected to Israel.
“We expelled two Dutch diplomats,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on March 4, accusing the Netherlands of an “illegal expulsion of Iranian diplomats.” Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok indicated that the Dutch intelligence service had pinpointed Iran as being responsible for political killings in the Netherlands. These allegedly involved murders in 2015 and 2017. Now, both Mashregh News and Tasnim News have published articles accusing Euro-pean countries of spying on Iran.
The articles begin by noting that Western countries have a long history of supporting coups in Iran, dating back to the 1950s. “The presence of some European ambassadors, who later be-came known as senior intelligence officials, was watched by Iranian intelligence agencies,” Mashregh News notes.
Suspicions were raised by the movement of embassy personnel and their attendance at street gatherings. “The Islamic Republic of Iran has recently expelled two agents from the Nether-lands embassy,” claims Tasnim News. The article notes that initially, the diplomats were ex-pelled and were described as diplomats, but that later research shows that this was a cover. “They had diplomatic cover,” the article claims, asserting that the two “agents” were women from the Netherlands, and that one of the diplomats was Jewish and “has many connections and communications in Tel Aviv.”
“Spying at the highest level,” the article asserts. Tasnim then claims that the German ambassa-dor to Iran, Michael Klor-Berchtold, is a member of the Intelligence Service of Germany, and accuses him of having a relationship with Israel. “The German intelligence officer has been in charge of joint circles with the Zionist intelligence service.” The article then claims that there are more spies in the French, Australian and Danish embassies. The list goes on to name “agents” from these embassies.
The article singles out French Ambassador Philippe Thiebaud and questions why a former am-bassador to Pakistan and South Korea would be sent to Tehran. It claims that his role is related to knowledge of the nuclear weapons program of Pakistan and North Korea and therefore is focused on the Iranian nuclear program at the center of the current Iran-EU discussions aimed at preserving the JCPOA nuclear deal.
The articles seem timed to coincide with tensions that Iran has had with Germany, the Nether-lands and France over accusations last year of Iranian involvement in attacks across Europe. In January, a letter signed by the foreign ministries of the UK, Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium and Denmark raised “serious concern” regarding Iran’s role in “hostile acts on EU terri-tory.” It is therefore unsurprising that Iranian media would concoct a story about many of these same countries having “spies” in Iran. The articles may be intended to build pressure on the Iranian leadership regarding these EU states.
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