Denmark recalls ambassador over Iran assassination plot

Denmark's Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen said he had recalled Denmark's ambassador in Tehran for consultations. (Ritzau Scanpix via AP)
Updated 31 October 2018

Denmark recalls ambassador over Iran assassination plot

  • Iranian intelligence services targeted an opposition leader of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz
  • A Norwegian citizen of Iranian background arrested for the plot

COPENHAGEN: Denmark on Tuesday recalled its ambassador to Iran in response to a plot by Tehran's intelligence services to assassinate an opposition figure on Danish soil.

A Norwegian citizen of Iranian background was arrested for the plot last month, which targeted the leader of the Danish branch of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz (ASMLA), Danish security service chief Finn Borch Andersen said.

"We are dealing with an Iranian intelligence agency planning an attack on Danish soil. Obviously, we can't and won't accept that," Andersen told a news conference.

Denmark's Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen said he had recalled Denmark's ambassador in Tehran for consultations after earlier summoning the Iranian ambassador to a meeting at the foreign ministry

"Denmark can in no way accept that people with ties to Iran's intelligence service plot attacks against people in Denmark," Samuelsen said.

He said he believed the Iranian government was behind the attempted attack and said Denmark would push for fresh EU-wide sanctions against Iran.

"The gravity of the matter is difficult to describe," the minister said earlier. "That has been made crystal clear to the Iranian ambassador in Copenhagen today."

Borch Andersen said Danish police had arrested the Norwegian citizen on Oct. 21 on suspicion of helping an unknown Iranian intelligence service "to act in Denmark" and for involvement in planning to kill an opposition member. The suspect, who was not identified, denied wrongdoing in a court appearance and is in pre-trial custody until Nov. 8.

Norway's Police Security Service said it was cooperating with Danish police on the case, which it also described as a planned attack in Denmark.

On Sept. 28, Danish police shut two major bridges to traffic and halted ferry services from Denmark to Sweden and Germany in a nationwide police operation to prevent a possible attack.

The person had, among others, been seen taking photos of the residences of members of ASMLA in Ringsted, nearly 60 kilometers southwest of Copenhagen.

The group has been named by Tehran as being behind a terror attack on a military parade in the city of Ahvaz on Sept. 22 that left at least 25 people dead. ASMLA has condemned the attack and said it was not involved.

After that attack, Tehran summoned Denmark's ambassador and accused the Danish government of harboring members of the "terrorist group.”

Borch Andersen said Denmark has worked and is working "with a series of partners in Europe on the case.

During the televised press conference, the head of the intelligence service also noted that Iran earlier had been active against opposition groups abroad.

He singled out a foiled bombing attack that targeted a rally organized by an Iranian opposition group near Paris in June.

The Ahvazi Arabs are a minority in Iran, and some see themselves as under occupation and want independence or autonomy.

*With Reuters and AP


Yoga can help corona patients breathe easy, says Egyptian expert

Updated 20 min 44 sec ago

Yoga can help corona patients breathe easy, says Egyptian expert

  • "Yoga can actually help to avoid injury and to stay stable in every position"

CAIRO: It is well documented that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) can have severe effects on the respiratory system, causing difficulty in breathing as well as chest pains.

With no specific cure discovered yet, it has been suggested that yoga techniques can help breathe easy.

According to yoga experts, breathing is the most important part of yoga.

“When it comes to a productive yoga routine, settling your mind, relaxing, centering yourself, and breathing are the most important steps to master," Egyptian yoga instructor Rana Moustafa told Arab News.

Pharmacologist Louis J. Ignarro, Nobel Prize winner in Physiology in 1998, and Professor of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology in the University of California, Los Angeles, wrote an article recently explaining how breathing properly can help to fight COVID-19

"Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. It’s not just something you do in yoga class; breathing this way actually provides a powerful medical benefit that can help the body fight viral infections.

"The reason is that your nasal cavities produce the molecule, nitric oxide, which chemists abbreviate as NO. It increases blood flow through the lungs and boosts oxygen levels in the blood. Breathing in through the nose delivers NO directly into the lungs where it helps fight coronavirus infection by blocking the replication of virus in the lungs. The higher oxygen saturation of the blood can make one feel more refreshed and provide greater endurance," he wrote.

Rana explained that deep breathing "lowers stress levels by decreasing heart rate. When you breathe correctly, it redirects the flow of energy within your body, and also boosts your immunity, and improves both lung function and respiratory endurance."

"The things that happen when you are stressed, such as increasing heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax the whole body," the Egyptian yoga instructor emphasized.

"The most beautiful thing about yoga is that it’s available to anyone and everyone. Yoga is for any age and fitness level. The poses can be easily modified for different skill levels or if someone has an injury or condition. Not only that, but there are several types of yoga to choose from," said Rana.

"Yoga can actually help to avoid injury and to stay stable in every position."