Denmark Foils Iran Assassination Attempt


Flag of Iran. Credit: Public Domain.

Denmark is demanding a European Union meeting specifically to discuss sanctions against Iran after intelligence agencies discovered a failed plot by the Iranian government to assassinate an Iranian dissident on Danish soil.

The attack was meant to target the leader of the Danish branch of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz, according to Danish Intelligence Chief Finn Borch Andersen.

CNN reported that the government arrested a Norwegian citizen of Iranian background on October 21 in connection to the assassination plot.

The Danish Security and Intelligence Service, also known as the PET, put out a statement detailing the “extended period of time” they spent working on the “highly unusual and very serious case.”

The assassination plan was foiled after a “comprehensive police operation” across Denmark that included the closure of bridges and train operations, the statement said.

According to PET, personal protection has been provided to the ASMLA leader in question since the spring of 2018 following “tangible threats” from Iran.

The statement also openly accused the Iranian government of the attack.

“There is sufficient basis to conclude that an Iranian intelligence service has been planning the assassination,” the PET reported.

The Iranian government is against the ASMLA because of their desire for a separate state for ethnic Arabs in the province of Khuzestan in Iran, most well-known for its oil production.

Bahram Qasemi, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, rejected the allegations.

“This is a continuation of enemies’ plots to damage Iranian relations with Europe at this critical time,” he said. “[The allegations] are in line with the conspiracies and plots of the enemies of Iran.

Both British Prime Minister Theresa May and United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stood with Denmark in official statements.

“We congratulate the government of Denmark on its arrest of an Iranian regime assassin,” Pompeo tweeted. “We call on our allies and partners to confront the full range of Iran’s threats to peace and security.”

This is not the first time there has been tension between western countries and Iran, according to Reuters.

The news outlet reported that Ahmad Mola Nissi, an Iranian exile who established the ASMLA, was shot dead in the Netherlands, and last month, Iran “summoned the envoys of the Netherlands, Denmark, and Britain over a September 22 shooting attack on a military parade in Khuzestan in which 25 people were killed.”

This assassination plot could benefit President Trump’s attempts to persuade his European allies to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, The Washington Post reported.

In an odd twist to the story, Iran had previously condemned the Saudi killing of dissident journalism Jamal Khashoggi.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the killing a “heinous murder,” according to The Washington Post. Many disapproving citizens have pulled contrasts between the murder of Khashoggi and the attempted assassination of the Iranian dissenter.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen called the foiled attack in Denmark “totally unacceptable,” and later tweeted “Further actions against Iran will be discussed in the E.U.”

European Commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic told CNN that the organization is “following the reports and [is] in contact with the Danish authorities. At this stage, this issue is being directly dealt with by the member state in question.”

While it is unclear whether any sanctions will influence the future of the Iran nuclear deal, this assassination attempt may prove fatal to Iran’s standing with Europe.