Iran 'hired Dutch criminals to assassinate Iranian dissidents in the Netherlands'

Clay Curtis
January 9, 2019

On Tuesday, the E-U froze the assets of an Iranian intelligence unit.

The decision, which includes designating the unit and the two Iranians as terrorists, follows last year's disclosure by Denmark and France that they suspected an Iranian government intelligence service of pursuing assassination plots on their soil.

The Dutch government had "strong indications that Iran was involved in the assassinations of [the] two Dutch nationals of Iranian origin" in 2015 and 2017 Dutch foreign minister Set Blok said in a letter to the Dutch parliament justifying Tuesday's move.

Copenhagen at the time sought an EU-wide response.

"Europeans, including Denmark, Holland, and France, harbour MEK - who killed 12,000 Iranians and abetted Saddam's crimes against Iraqi Kurds - as well as other terrorists staging murder of innocent Iranians from Europe", Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif said on Twitter.

Dutch news reports had said Motamed was living in the Netherlands under a false name and is really Mohammad Reza Kolahi Samadi - the man behind the largest bomb attack in Iran in 1981.

According to Dutch intelligence agency AIVD, middlemen were employed by the Iranian government to kill the two victims.

"Iran was informed that involvement in such matters is entirely unacceptable and must be stopped immediately. further sanctions can not be ruled out", the letter said.

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Tehran has time and again strongly denied any involvement in the purported plots, saying the accusations were merely meant to damage EU-Iran relations amid efforts to save the 2015 deal following Washington's withdrawal.

Iran denies any involvement in the killings. The latter was dissident Iranian Arab activist Ahmad Mola Nissi who was gunned down by an unidentified assailant in front of his home in The Hague.

Dutch ministers said that at a meeting with Iranian officials "it was emphasised that the measures were not linked" to the Iran nuclear deal.

"Instead of blacklisting such terrorist and criminal groups as the Monafeqin (MKO) and al-Ahwaziya, the European Union has allowed them freedom to carry out their inhuman and terrorist activities and even provides them protection, while it levels accusations against Iran, which is the flag-bearer in the fight against terror in the region and to which Europe owes its security", Qassemi said.

The deputy minister and director general of intelligence is in Iran, while the Iranian diplomat was charged and is being held by Belgian authorities.

"We will continue to support the nuclear agreement provided that Iran complies with it".

The EU has previously trodden cautiously on Iran as it sought to save a beleaguered nuclear deal with Tehran after the United States withdrew a year ago and imposed new sanctions. "The newly imposed sanctions offer some hope that a growing number of countries are willing to take an active, clear stand against Iran's global campaign of terrorism".

The blacklisting move could complicate European Union efforts to keep alive the nuclear deal with Iran in the wake of the U.S. pullout.

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