The hysteria over the alleged Iranian operation to assassinate a member of the terrorist group operating in Iran who lives in Denmark is developing.
On October 30th, Denmark called for fresh European Union-wide sanctions against Iran and recalled its ambassador in Tehran after the accusations.
Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen called the planned attack “totally unacceptable” and British Prime Minister Theresa May had voiced her support for Denmark during a meeting in Oslo.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo congratulated Denmark and called for its “allies and partners to confront the full range of Iran’s threats to peace and security.”
A Norwegian citizen of Iranian background was arrested in Sweden on October 21st in connection with the plot and extradited to neighboring Denmark, Swedish security police said.
The man has denied the charges. Iran also rejected all allegations.
“This is a continuation of enemies’ plots to damage Iranian relations with Europe at this critical time,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said.
According to Danish intelligence chief Finn Borch Andersen, the target of the attack was the leader of the Danish branch of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA). ASMLA seeks a separate state for ethnic Arabs in Iran’s oil-producing southwestern province of Khuzestan. It also took responsibility, along with ISIS for an attack on an Iranian military parade in September. The attack left 25 people dead. Thus, Denmark is giving protection of a group that has taken part in terror attacks.
In September, Iran summoned the envoys of the Netherlands, Denmark and Britain over a shooting attack on a military parade in Khuzestan that killed 25 people.
Denmark has also not provided any evidence whatsoever of its allegations. On September 28th, as if in a spy movie, Danish police shut two major bridges to traffic and halted ferry services from Denmark to Sweden and Germany in a nationwide police operation to prevent a possible attack.
According to Danish police, the Norwegian suspect had been seen photographing and watching the Danish home of the “target.”
In November 2017, Ahmad Mola Nissi, an Iranian exile who established ASMLA, was shot dead in the Netherlands. Following the incident, Danish police increased protection of the ASMLA leader and two of his associates.
It is interesting to note how an alleged, unproven attack gets instant calls for sanctions and a strong response from Denmark, the US and the UK, among others, simply because it involves Iran on the “guilty side.”
The response to Khashoggi’s proven murder by Saudi Arabia is yet to receive such a response from the US or the UK. Denmark has taken no side regarding the issue.
Regardless if Iran did plan an attack or it was just a row of media hysteria over alleged Iranian misconduct, the fact of the matter is that this “incident” will have an impact on the EU-China-Russia efforts to assist Iran in avoiding US sanctions.
The timing of the scandal is also noteworthy, it comes just several days before US sanctions targeting Iran’s energy sector and oil exports come into effect on November 4th. The entire narrative is being spun out of proportion, likely because it would damage EU-Iran relations and, thus, enhance the damaging effect of the sanctions.