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Netherlands Recalls Ambassador to Iran

Netherlands Recalls Ambassador to Iran

Monday, 4 March, 2019 - 18:30
Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
The Netherlands recalled on Monday its ambassador to Iran after diplomats at its embassy in Tehran were expelled, Foreign Minister Stef Blok said.

“The government has decided to recall the Dutch ambassador in Tehran for consultations,” Blok said in a statement.

“This decision follows the announcement by the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that two Dutch diplomats at the embassy in Tehran have been declared persona non grata and have to leave the country.”

The move comes just two months after the Netherlands accused Iran of being behind political killings in the Netherlands that triggered new European Union sanctions against Tehran.

The diplomats have already returned to the Netherlands, Blok said.

The Iranian ambassador to the Netherlands was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in The Hague to explain the expulsions, which Blok said in a letter to parliament “is not acceptable and is negative for the development of bilateral relations.”

In a letter to parliament, Blok said the expulsion of Dutch staff from Tehran was in response to the earlier expulsion of two Iranian diplomats from the Netherlands in June 2018, due to strong indications from the AIVD (intelligence agency) that Iran has been involved in the liquidations on Dutch territory of two Dutch people of Iranian origin.

In January, the EU put an Iranian intelligence service and two senior officials on its terror list over suspicions they were involved in assassinations and plots to kill opposition activists in Denmark, France and the Netherlands.

As part of that announcement, the Dutch government said it considered it likely that "Iran had a hand in the preparation or commission of assassinations and attacks on EU territory," including the killing of two Dutch nationals of Iranian origin in the cities of Almere in 2015 and in The Hague in 2017. Iran has denied involvement.

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