Iran summons Danish ambassador over attack allegations

Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen previously recalled its ambassador to Iran after it accused Tehran of plotting a foiled 'attack' in Demark. (AFP)
Updated 31 October 2018

Iran summons Danish ambassador over attack allegations

  • Denmark accused Iran of a political assassination plot on its soil
  • The Danish ambassador met with a senior official for European affairs at the Iranian foreign ministry

DUBAI: Iran's foreign ministry summoned the Danish ambassador on Wednesday, following the arrest of an Iranian-Norwegian national for allegedly plotting an attack in Denmark.

According to statement from the ministry, the Danish ambassador met with a senior official for European affairs at the foreign ministry Wednesday morning.

“In this meeting the official strongly denied the biased reports on a foiled attack plot on an Iranian dissident in Denmark and its attribution to the Islamic republic of Iran,” spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said, warning against “hasty and controversial actions.”

Meanwhile, the British government has also expressed deep concern over recent reports of Iranian assassination attempts abroad.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Tuesday that his country fully supported Denmark’s move in the face of illegal Iranian intelligence activities.

The statement came after Denmark’s foreign ministry recalled its ambassador to Iran for consultations in response to an alleged plot from Tehran which targeted to assassinate the leader of the Danish branch of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz. Iran’s ambassador to Denmark Morteza Muradine was also summoned for a meeting

A Norwegian citizen of Iranian background was arrested on Oct. 21, Denmark’s security service chief Finn Borch Andersen said, on suspicion he was aiding an unknown Iranian intelligence service “to act in Denmark” and for involvement in planning to kill an opposition member.

“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.

The unidentified suspect denied wrongdoing in a court appearance and is now in pre-trial custody until Nov. 8.

(With AFP)


Poor air quality: Malaysia tells citizens to stay indoors

Updated 30 min 57 sec ago

Poor air quality: Malaysia tells citizens to stay indoors

  • Nearly 1,500 schools closed as haze continues to plague the country

KUALA LUMPUR: As Malaysia’s haze problem worsened on Wednesday, some areas of the country recorded readings above 200 on the Air Pollution Index (API), which officials told Arab News is considered “very unhealthy.”

More than a million primary and high-school students stayed home as 1,484 schools remained closed in seven states, including Selangor and Sarawak — the two worst-affected states. 

In some areas of Sarawak, API readings were above 300, which is considered hazardous to the environment and human health. 

The Ministry of Education advised all higher education institutions in the haze-affected states to postpone their classes, while some companies and institutions, including the Ministry of Youth and Sports, asked employees to work from home.

Responding to the worsening situation, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Muhamad stressed that Malaysia must deal with the haze issue on its own.

“We will have to find ways to deal with the haze, through cloud seeding, asking people to stay at home, and school closures,” he said at a press conference in Putrajaya. 

The Malaysia government also stressed that it will take legal action against Malaysian companies that own estates and plantations outside Malaysia which have contributed to the problem. 

“We will ask them to put out the fires (they have set). If they are unwilling to take action, we may have to pass a law that holds them responsible,” the 93-year-old Malaysian leader said.

The ASEAN Specialized Meteorological Centre reported that forest fires in Indonesia’s Sumatera and Kalimantan regions have intensified, leading to an increase in the haze across the Southeast Asian region. Those fires, coupled with the dry weather conditions in certain areas, mean the air quality is expected to continue to deteriorate. The general public have been advised to stay indoors and to wear facemasks if they do have to go outside.

Benjamin Ong, a Kuala Lumpur-based environmentalist told Arab News that many Malaysians are concerned about the ongoing and worsening issue of haze, which has become an annual occurrence despite efforts by Malaysia, Indonesia and other Southeast-Asian governments to tackle the transboundary problem. 

“Outdoor activities are badly affected, including environmental activities like hiking and outdoor classes for kids,” Ong said, adding that many families are especially concerned about the pollution’s impact on their children’s education.

“The haze has been hanging around for at least 20 years, but the root causes have never been systematically tackled,” he added. “Distribution of masks, school closures and cloud seeding are only treating the symptoms, so to speak, and do not in any way make society more resilient to haze if and when it returns.”