Iranian President Hassan Rouhani gestures as members of Iranian armed forces take part in a rally marking the anniversary of Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, in Tehran, Iran, February 11, 2018.
(photo credit: PRESIDENT.IR/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
The Mossad provided Denmark with information that thwarted an Iranian plot to assassinate an Iranian separatist leader in the Scandinavian country, it was revealed on Wednesday.
A Norwegian citizen of Iranian background was arrested in Sweden on October 21 and extradited to Denmark.
According to a KAN Bet report, information from the Mossad is what led to the arrest of the suspect in the alleged plot. The Mossad was also responsible for providing information to French authorities in June about a plan to attack a meeting of Iranian opposition figures there.
Denmark recalled its ambassador from Iran on Tuesday and accused Tehran of planning to assassinate a man believed to be a member of an Arab separatist movement. Iran denied involvement.
“I have decided to recall Denmark’s ambassador in Tehran for consultations,” Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen said. “Denmark can in no way accept that people with ties to Iran’s intelligence service plot attacks against people in Denmark.”
The suspect was seen photographing the home of the target. The target was a senior member of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA), an organization that wants a separate state for Arabs in western Iran.
After a shooting at an Iranian military parade in September killed 25 people, both Islamic State and another Arab separatist groups took responsibility. Iran accused Denmark, Britain and the Netherlands of harboring leaders of separatist groups.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday thanked Denmark’s government for arresting the “Iranian regime assassin.”
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 who was apparently seen near the home of a dissident activist from ASMLA. Denmark closed the Øresund 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 dogs 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,” said Finn Borch Andersen, head of the Danish Security Service, at a press conference. 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 countries 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.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi responded by saying Denmark’s actions were biased. He told the press that Iran rejected accusations it was involved in the plot.
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