Norway Summons Iranian Envoy Over Suspected Assassination Plot in Denmark

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FILE PHOTO: Danish Police stand guard in Copenhagen, on October 11, 2018
FILE PHOTO: Danish Police stand guard in Copenhagen, on October 11, 2018Credit: AFP

Norway summoned the Iranian ambassador on Thursday over a suspected assassination plot against an Iranian Arab opposition figure in Denmark involving a Norwegian citizen of Iranian background.

Denmark said on Tuesday it suspected the Iranian government intelligence service had tried to carry out an assassination on its soil. It is now calling for fresh European Union-wide sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

A Norwegian citizen of Iranian background was arrested in Sweden on October 21 in connection with the plot and extradited to Denmark, Swedish security police have said.

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“During the meeting we underlined that the activity, that has come to light through the investigation in Denmark, is unacceptable,” Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said in a statement.

“We see the situation that has arisen in Denmark as very serious and that a Norwegian citizen of Iranian background is suspected in this case,” she added.

The attack was meant to target the leader of the Danish branch of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA), Danish intelligence chief Finn Borch Andersen said.

ASMLA seeks a separate state for ethnic Arabs in Iran’s oil-producing southwestern province of Khuzestan. Arabs are a minority in Iran, and some see themselves as under Persian occupation and want independence or autonomy.

The Norwegian citizen has denied the charges and the Iranian government has also denied any connection with what Norway suspects is a plot.

On Wednesday, Iran summoned the Danish ambassador to Tehran over Copenhagen's allegations, expressing a "strong protest" to Ambassador Danny Annan over what it described as the Danish officials' "hasty, political" and "uncalculated actions" in the case.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the Mossad on Thursday of trying to sabotage the nuclear accord it reached in 2015 with world powers.

"Incredible series of coincidences. Or, a simple chronology of a Mossad program to kill the JCPOA?" Zarif tweeted. Attached to the tweet was a picture detailing dates of statements by Netanyahu about Iran's nuclear program and of media reports about Mossad activists to foil attacks in Europe, and how those dates coincide with diplomatic events attended by U.S. President Donald Trump or Iranian President Hassan Rohani.

Zarif offered no details beyond this tweet.

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