Diplomacy

EU to Sanction Iranian Intelligence Agency for Foiled Terror Plots

The European Union (EU) announced that it would place a unit of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry and two of its agents under sanctions for attempted terror plots on European soil, Reuters reported Tuesday.

The EU’s decision follows two well-publicized attempted terror attacks against dissidents in Paris and Denmark last year.

The action would freeze the assets held by the organization and the individuals in the EU.

In October, the Danish government started pushing for sanctions, after it was reported that an Iranian suspect had been arrested for attempting to assassinate an opposition figure in Denmark.

Four people were arrested in connection with an Iranian-led bomb plot against an Iranian opposition group in Paris this past summer. One of those arrested was an Iranian diplomat, who was captured in Germany. In October, they were extradited to Belgium, which has taken the lead in the investigation.

“Important day for European Foreign Policy! EU just agreed to enact sanctions against an Iranian Intelligence Service for its assassination plots on European soil,” Anders Samuelsen, Denmark’s foreign minister wrote on Twitter. “Strong signal from the EU that we will not accept such behaviour in Europe.”

Saeid Hashemi Moghadam, and Assadollah Asadi, a Vienna-based diplomat, were named as the two employees of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry, who would be sanctioned. France, previously, had seized the assets of the pair in response to the attempted Paris attack this past summer.

In August, the United States Justice Department charged two Iranian men on espionage charges. They were accused of gathering information on Jewish and Israeli sites, as well as individuals associated with the rebel group MEK, and passing the information on to Tehran.

In January of last year, Benjamin Weinthal reported in The Jerusalem Post that Germany sought ten members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force for spying on Jewish and Israeli institutions across the nation.

In November of 2017, an advocate for Iran’s Ahwazi Arabs was fatally shot in the Hague. In July, it was announced that the Netherlands had expelled two Iranian diplomats two months ago. The Dutch government didn’t mention if the expulsions were related to the murder.

In October, The Washington Post reported that the attempted Paris terror attack has “sparked growing anxiety” in numerous European countries, the U.S., and Israel, and that Tehran has stepped up its intelligence activities abroad in preparation for more “audacious” terror attacks.

[Photo: Amio Cajander / Flickr ]