Denmark has accused an Iranian intelligence service of plotting to assassinate a political separatist in Denmark and arrested a man they claim was conducting reconnaissance for that plan. In response, Denmark is now talking with the European Union about taking steps against Iran in response, which the BBC said could include sanctions. The BBC report identified Iran’s target as a senior member of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA), a separatist organization that wants to carve out an Arab state in a region of Iran.
The Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) posted in a report on their website that while the arrested man denies the charges, the Danes believe the plot was real. Said the PET report, “When PET now states that there is sufficient basis to conclude that an Iranian intelligence service has been planning the assassination of an individual living in Denmark, it is not only based on the case against the man in custody, but on comprehensive intelligence efforts.”
Meanwhile, the angst towards Iran has reached the highest levels of Denmark’s government. Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen posted to Twitter on Tuesday, “It is totally unacceptable that Iran or any other foreign state plans assassinations on Danish soil. Further actions against Iran will be discussed in the EU.”
The incident comes at a precarious time for Iran. The Americans have already reinstated sanctions on Iran after pulling out of the global nuclear deal with Tehran earlier this year, and the strongest American sanctions on Iranian oil are set to kick in during November.
Iranians meanwhile, are upset about the Danish claims. Iran’s Fars News Agency reported that Tehran actually summoned the Danish ambassador to Iran on Wednesday to protest the allegations. Fars reported that Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi not only denied the accusation, but claimed it is a plot to harm Iran-European relations.
However, this was no small matter in Denmark. The PET report said that the Iranian plot resulted in a “very comprehensive police operation” that involved shutting down of bridges and train service in late September. Over three weeks later, they arrested the suspect, a Norweigian of Iranian descent.
The PET said that the suspect was taking photos of the dissident’s home in Denmark. “PET’s investigation, which took place in close collaboration with foreign partners, gave reason to assume that the individual in question intended to pass on the information to an Iranian intelligence service with a view to the information forming part of the plans to assassinate the leader of ASMLA on Danish soil,” said the report.
At this time, at least some European nations are backing Denmark’s claims. The foreign ministers of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark on Wednesday met and released a joint statement that was published by the Danish Foreign Ministry.
“We have noted with great concern the information by our Danish colleague on the recent foiled assassination plot in Denmark by an Iranian intelligence agency. At this moment, we express our full solidarity with our Danish friends and partners,” said the statement.
“We take the matter extremely seriously. Such activities are completely unacceptable.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, October 31, 2018)