The Danish Government says Iran’s regime plotted to assassinate an Iranian Arab opposition leader inside Denmark.
Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen said on Tuesday that Copenhagen will push for new European Union sanctions against Iran — a week before comprehensive US restrictions take effect — and Denmark recalled its ambassador to Tehran.
The head of Danish intelligence, Finn Borch Andersen, told journalists that a man with a Norwegian passport and an Iranian background was arrested on October 21 in Sweden. He is suspected of involvement in a plot to kill the leader of the Danish branch of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz.
There have been recurrent protests in Ahvaz, with its large Arab population and factions calling for autonomy, in southwest Iran. On September 25, gunmen killed at least 25 people, including Revolutionary Guards and civilian bystanders, at a military parade in the city.
Iran has objected to Denmark over the presence of members of ASMLA, which is seeking a separate state for ethnic Arabs in Khuzestan Province, site of 80% of the Islamic Republic’s oilfields and 60% of its gas reserves.
Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen wrote:
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. #dkpol
— Lars Løkke Rasmussen (@larsloekke) October 30, 2018
After hosting UK Prime Minister Theresa May, he added, “In close collaboration with UK and other countries we will stand up to Iran.”
Last year an Iranian exile who established the ASMLA was shot dead in the Netherlands, with Iranian operatives suspected to be behind the assassination.
On October 2, French officials said Iran’s Intelligence Ministry pursued a plot to bomb a rally of the National Council of Resistance in Iran, held in Paris in June. Paris froze the assets of two senior Iranian officials.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi called the Danish allegations “a continuation of enemies’ plots to damage Iranian relations with Europe at this critical time”.