In light of the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and renewed sanctions, Iran has managed to maintain support from European members of the P5+1. However, the medieval and covert plots by the Iranian Intelligence and even diplomats in Europe have raised major questions about whether Europe should continue to support the deal and its friendly relations with Iran, in spite of opposition from Washington’s move.
It was reported recently that an assassination plot had been foiled in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark by Danish authorities. The Danish Intelligence chief, Finn Borch Anderson, stated that the target of the plot was an Iranian dissident and exiled leader of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA).
Anderson held the Iranian Intelligence agency to be responsible for the unacceptable plot on Danish soil. The Danish government has responded swiftly and recalled its diplomatic mission in Iran, as well as pressed for fresh EU sanctions.
While this plot may have come as a shock to some, Iran is, in reality, notorious for assassinating its political opponents overseas. In fact, since the Islamic regime came to power, there have been more than 160 political assassination attempts by Iranian agents on foreign soil. Some were successful, and some were thwarted. All, however, indicate that the Islamic regime is not one to take matters of international law or respect for European sovereignty as seriously as it likes to profess.
The foiled terror plot in Copenhagen is not the first time that Iran has conducted such operations in Europe. Over the years, there have also been countless assassination plots by Iranian operatives.
For instance, in June of 2018, Iranian agents attempted to carry out a terror plot during a rally of Iranian opposition groups in Paris that was foiled by French security forces. The French found that the plot was carried out by three Belgian nationals of Iranian origin, two of which the French government claims to be Iranian intelligence operatives.
Similarly, Iran was alleged to have been behind the assassination of another Arab Ahwaz leader, Ahmad Mawla Abu Nahidh in front of his home in the Dutch city of The Hague last year.
Being that Europe has for long been a place of refuge for Iranian dissidents, there is a long history of Iranian terror plots on European soil. For instance, in 1989, an Iranian terror squad disguised as diplomats met with the then-Secretary General of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, Dr. Abdul Rehman Ghassemlou, and his colleagues in Vienna for negotiations, only to be brutally shot down.
In light of these facts, European countries, particularly the big powers in the EU, should understand that any kind of relationship with the regime in Iran would give legitimacy to a regime that has no respect for human rights, democracy, or international law for that matter. European countries must defend their sovereignty and respect for the international law before their business interests and re-evaluate their relationship with Iran.
This regime has demonstrated, time and time again, that it is not a government that can be trusted to follow rules and norms of international law, nor can it be expected to uphold its obligations and responsibilities in the P5+ 1 Nuclear Agreement.
It is time that European countries heeded the Danish call for fresh sanctions on Iran and took a united stance against any state that seeks to violate European sovereignty and abuse diplomatic immunity to conduct illegal and covert terror operations.
Halmat Palani is an English teacher and political science graduate from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Kurdistan 24.
Editing by Nadia Riva