Denmark announced that it had recalled its ambassador to Tehran on Thursday October 25th and accused Iran of planning to assassinate three Iranian activists from Ahwaz in southwest Iran, on Danish soil. One of them is the leader of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA), HabibYabar. This diplomatic move comes five days before the US Administration starts implementing the second set of the harshest sanctions in the history of Iran. The sanctions target the energy and bank sectors and the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said in an interview with American CBS news that it is the first time in Iran’s history that US sanctions have been imposed without the support of Europe.
It seems that European countries have reached a consensus to besiege Iran and reject its offensive and destructive attitudes towards their countries. Denmark’s recall of its ambassador comes shortly after the French government made a similar move earlier in October. The German government took similar measures last year.
European countries do not usually disclose attempted Iranian intelligence operations on their soil immediately. In contrast to previous events, Iran’s intelligence operations were disclosed to the public soon after measures had been taken to thwart them. It seems that politics are at play and European countries want to prevent Iran from using Europe in its confrontation with US President Donald Trump.
Denmark's sharp tone indicates the public's anger towards Iran's actions in their country. The crisis was dealt with by very senior government officials including the Prime Minister, Lars Lokke Rasmussen and the Foreign Minister, Anders Samuelsen.
Copenhagen has obtained political and security service support from major European countries. This was clear from the tone of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ statement and the Prime Minister’s tweets, which stated that they had obtained the support of the UK and its Prime Minister, Theresa May.
It is possible that European countries will escalate their response to the Iranian secret service operations and that other European countries may join the US in its disciplinary policies against the Iranian threat to peace and stability. The summoning of the Denmark ambassador from Tehran could be seen as an initial step towards escalation against Iran.
It is a well-known principle that relationships with allies are more complicated than relationships with enemies. The ties between Tehran and Europe appear similar to a chess game created by the Persians in the past. Iran’s aggressive intelligence operations have crossed a red line for Europe. The Danish response will impact Iran’s relations with the whole continent, which once granted it powerful political support.
This incident is considered a major change in the relations between the two sides; it will change the behavior of Europe towards Iran from harmony to conflict. Iran has not provided any means of preserving its relations with Europe; it has not maintained even the minimum standard of behaviour required.
It is clear that Europe will not allow the assassination of Iranian opposition activists on its soil, especially after the assassination of the Ahvaz leader and activist, Ahmad Mulla, in The Hague in Holland on November 8th last year.
It seems that Iran has committed a devastating strategic mistake days before the start of the second set of the painful US sanctions. It has lost a European ally by attempting a terrorist operation that would not have greatly changed the rules of the game. It seems also that the internal conflict in the intelligence forces and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Group has impacted their professionalism and exposed their operations even before they were carried out.
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