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EU Places Iran Intelligence Ministry Unit on Terror List

EU Places Iran Intelligence Ministry Unit on Terror List

Tuesday, 8 January, 2019 - 11:30
European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium June 20, 2018. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
The European Union designated as terrorist on Tuesday a unit of the Iranian intelligence ministry for planning assassinations in Europe, the Danish Foreign Ministry and EU diplomats said.

Two members of its staff were also placed on the list.

The decision, which freezes financial assets in the bloc belonging to the unit and the two individuals, comes after Denmark said last year it suspected an Iranian government intelligence service of carrying out an assassination plot on its soil, reported Reuters.

"EU just agreed to enact sanctions against an Iranian Intelligence Service for its assassination plots on European soil. Strong signal from the EU that we will not accept such behavior in Europe," Denmark's Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen said on Twitter.

The decision was taken without debate at an unrelated meeting of Europe ministers in Brussels and the asset freeze comes into effect on Wednesday, EU officials said.

The Danish Foreign Ministry named the two employees as the deputy minister and director general of intelligence, Saeid Hashemi Moghadam, and Assadollah Asadi, a Vienna-based diplomat.

Their names are set to appear officially in the EU's Official Journal on Wednesday.

France has said there was no doubt the Iranian intelligence ministry was behind a failed attack in Paris.

Iran has denied any involvement in the plots, saying the accusations were intended to damage EU-Iran relations.

Tuesday’s move follows efforts by Denmark and France to marshal a EU-wide response to the accusations of the Iranian attack plots in France and Denmark late last year.

On Tuesday, the Netherlands said it had “strong indications” that Iran was behind the assassinations of two Dutch nationals of Iranian origin, in 2015 and in 2017. The latter was dissident Iranian Arab activist Ahmad Mola Nissi who was gunned down by an unidentified assailant in front of his home in The Hague.

But imposing economic sanctions on Iran, however slight, remains highly sensitive for the bloc.

The EU has been straining to uphold the 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and world powers that US President Donald Trump pulled out of in May. It has been less willing to consider sanctions, instead seeking talks with Tehran.

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