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.”