Sanctions on Iran spy unit over terrorism in Europe

The Dutch intelligence service "has strong indications that Iran was involved in the assassinations of two Dutch nationals of Iranian origin, in Almere in 2015 and in The Hague in 2017," Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok. (AFP)
Updated 09 January 2019
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Sanctions on Iran spy unit over terrorism in Europe

  • Dutch police have previously named the two victims as Ali Motamed, 56, and Ahmad Molla Nissi, 52
  • Denmark had led efforts for sanctions after allegations that Tehran tried to kill three Iranian dissidents on Danish soil

JEDDAH: The EU on Tuesday froze the assets of an Iranian intelligence unit and two of its staff and designated them as terrorists over Tehran’s role in assassinations and other attacks in Europe.

It is the first time the EU has imposed sanctions on Iran since they were lifted three years ago after the 2015 deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

Denmark’s Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen said the decision at a meeting in Brussels was “a strong signal from the EU that we will not accept such behavior.”

France accused Iran of a plot to carry out a bomb attack last summer at a rally near Paris organized by an exiled Iranian opposition group. Denmark says it foiled an Iranian intelligence plan to assassinate an Iranian Arab opposition figure on its soil. The Netherlands said Iran was behind the assassinations of two Dutch nationals of Iranian origin in 2015 and in 2017.

“Iran was informed that involvement in such matters is entirely unacceptable and must be stopped immediately ... further sanctions cannot be ruled out,” the EU said.

Tehran’s conduct “shows a pattern of destructive and terrorist behavior,” the Iranian-American Harvard scholar Dr. Majid Rafizadeh told Arab News.

“These assassinations and attacks show that the Iranian regime is increasingly targeting political dissidents abroad, particularly in Europe, in spite of the fact that the EU is attempting to help Iran by sustaining the nuclear deal and the sanctions relief.

“Iran’s increasing attacks and assassinations on European soil highlight the fact that the regime continues to prioritize its revolutionary ideology and principles, which were set by its founding father Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979.

“The EU should take a firm stance against Iran, otherwise Tehran will be more emboldened and encouraged to increase its attacks on European soil.”


Syrian businessman linked to Assad arrested in Kuwait

Mazen Al-Tarazi has been living in Kuwait for a long while. (AFP/File)
Updated 19 March 2019
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Syrian businessman linked to Assad arrested in Kuwait

  • The businessman has a publishing and advertising company in Kuwait
  • He is blacklisted in the EU

KUWAIT CITY: A prominent Syrian businessman with close ties to Syrian President Bashar Assad has been arrested in Kuwait, his lawyer said Tuesday.
Mazen Al-Tarazi was arrested late Monday at his offices, his lawyer Badr Al-Yacoub told AFP.
He said that he did not yet know the reasons behind his client’s arrest.
Local authorities did not immediately release the charges against Tarazi.
But Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas, citing unnamed informed sources, reported that the businessman is accused of money laundering and printing texts without authorization.
A longtime resident of Kuwait, Tarazi owns a publishing and advertising firm in partnership with a high-profile local businessman, Ahmad Al-Jarallah.
Jarallah confirmed to AFP that police had raided his offices on Monday night and arrested Tarazi’s secretary and two Al-Hadaf magazine employees.
Tarazi is on an EU blacklist of Syrian nationals who have been banned from entry to European states and whose assets have been frozen over their role in the Syria war.