EU imposes sanctions on Iran for ‘murders’ on European soil

The European Union has announced the imposing of a series of sanctions against the Islamic Republic after the Netherlands joined France and Denmark in accusing the Iranian Security Services for planning and executing assassinations on European soil. According to findings of an investigation conducted by the Dutch intelligence agency, Iran’s Security Services is responsible for the murder of two Iranian dissidents living in the Netherlands between 2015 and 2017. The conclusive revelation of the Dutch investigation prompted The Hague to expel two Iranian diplomats that work for the Iranian embassy in the Netherlands, and in cooperation with EU member states, Brussels has decided to impose sanctions against two Iranian operatives and to list the directorate for internal security of Iran’s Ministry for Intelligence on the European Union’s list of terror entities. In a statement made to the public broadcast authority of the Netherlands, following the EU’s decision, Dutch Interior Minister Kasja Ollongren said “Two murders were committed in the Netherlands, which after an intelligence investigation we have attributed (responsibility) to Iran’s Security Services. Today, in Brussels, an EU decision was made to impose sanctions on Iran’s Security Services, because this of course is unacceptable, what happened in the Netherlands and in other countries (France and Denmark) where there are indications of these kind of actions (assassinations) are planned and carried out.” When asked whether the European resolve to preserve the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran at a time when the Islamic Republic is conducting targeted-killings on European soil does mitigate the severity of Tehran’s conduct, the Dutch Interior Minister stressed that the preservation of the nuclear deal with the Ayatollah regime remained an interest of the Netherlands and the European bloc. “It is also in the Netherlands interest to fulfill our commitments (with regard to the nuclear agreement) and that Iran will also fulfill its obligations. So, we made the choice to implement these (new) sanctions, in relations to the totally unacceptable activities of the Iranian Security Services in Europe,” Ollongren said.

In response to the European Union’s decision, which has taken effect today, Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that EU sanctions on Tehran over alleged planned attacks in Europe “will not absolve Europe of responsibility for harboring terrorists.” The Iranian top diplomat further stressed in a tweet that “Europeans, including Denmark, Holland and France, harbor (the) MEK,” referring to an exiled Iranian opposition group ‘Mujaheedin-e Khalq’.