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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Iran's Terror in Europe: Assassinations, Bombings, Espionage

Politics

7Dnews London - Salim Zayed

Thu, 01 Nov 2018 20:14 GMT

"If we are attacked, we will not just respond by operations in land, air, and sea outside our borders, but will carry out overseas attacks," said Yahya Rahim Safavi, the top military adviser of Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei.

The "overseas attacks" that Iran has threatened to inflict on Europe and the United States of America have been revealed in recent months after the foiling of numerous terrorist strikes, including assassinations and cyber attacks, by Iran on European countries.

The current Iranian threat is not the first of its kind. In 2012, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei called on the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards to step up attacks against Western targets.

Hisham Al-Baqali, director of the Political Studies Unit at the Salman-Zayed Center for Middle East Studies, told 7Dnews that Iran has increased its terrorist activity in Europe for several reasons.

According to Al-Baqali, the first reason is the attempt to silence the voice of the Iranian opposition abroad, especially as most of the operations have been carried out in countries with opposition organisations, whether separatist movements such as Ahwaz, or opponents as the Mujahideen Khalq.

The second reason, adds Al-Baqali, is a form of political blackmail through terrorism against all countries who harbour opposition groups, with the ultimate aim of destabilising them.

The third reason is a regional goal: Europe is not far from Tehran’s operations, and so one day may bow to Iran's demands, and support Iran in the face of US sanctions.

Consider the uneasiness of the recent past, explained Al-Baqali, which has made Iranian behaviour against Europe counterproductive, not only revealing Tehran’s intentions, but also worsening its relationship with the European Union.

Below, 7Dnews highlights the most prominent Iranian terrorist attacks on European countries.

Denmark: the ambassador is summoned

Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen announced on Tuesday October 30th that his country's ambassador to Iran was being recalled, stressing that Copenhagen would seek to impose more European sanctions on Tehran.

"Iran's plotting to assassinate on Danish soil is totally unacceptable," Samuelsen wrote on Twitter. The move came after the foiling of a plot by Iranian intelligence to carry out a terrorist attack in Denmark. The target was the leader of the local branch of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (Al-Ahvaziya).

France: activities will not go unpunished

"Iran's terrorist activities on French soil will not go unpunished." France justified its sanctions against Iran after the French government froze assets belonging to Iranian intelligence and two other Iranian citizens last October. The French move also came after the foiled plot of an explosive attack on an Iranian opposition conference in Paris last June. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Laudrian also called for the need to deal strongly with Iran as a result of these terrorist activities.

Not only did the French impose sanctions on Iranian intelligence, but the authorities also closed the Iran-affiliated Zahra Society Centre, and froze its assets on charges of "spreading extremism and terrorism" in Europe.

In response to the terrorist plot Paris also expelled an Iranian diplomat, whom the French Foreign Ministry said was an intelligence figure working under diplomatic cover.

Germany: espionage and assassinations

In January 2017, a German prosecutor accused a Pakistani man named Sayed Mustafa of spying for Iran and planning to assassinate a German politician by order of Iranian intelligence.

The plot on German soil had as its target Reinhold Robbie, a leader of the German Social Democratic Party, and former president of the Israeli-German Friendship Association.

The investigation revealed that Reinhold had been subject to espionage by a branch of the Iranian secret service. Another Iranian was accused but managed to escape. This is not the first time that Germany has arrested a spy working for Iran. In April 2016, the German Federal Attorney General announced the arrest of two people for spying on the opposition Iranian People's Mujahideen Organisation.

In 1992, Iranian intelligence carried out a vicious assassination in Germany, where four Iranian opposition Kurds were assassinated in a Greek restaurant in Berlin.

At that time, Investigations revealed that Iranian intelligence was involved, and a German court Issued an arrest warrant against the Iranian intelligence minister, Hogarth Ali Flegan, after confirming that it was he who issued the assassination orders, with knowledge of the Supreme Leader.

Cyprus: bomb making thwarted

In 2015, the Cypriot authorities foiled a terrorist attempt after a raid on a store owned by a Lebanese man named Ali Hussein Bassam Abdullah, a member of the Hezbollah militia, and found about 8.2 tons of ammonium nitrate which is used to make bombs.

The suspect admitted planning to carry out terrorist operations in Cyprus, and assassinating Iranian dissidents. He also confirmed his export of explosive material to Iranian activists in Europe and other countries.

Austria: Iranian ‘diplomat’ arrested

In 1989, Austria’s capital Vienna witnessed the execution of a terrorist plot on its soil. The Revolutionary Guard militia assassinated Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, who headed the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Iran.

The local security forces succeeded in arresting those involved, including one with an Iranian diplomatic passport.

Belgium: Assadullah Asadi arrested

The Belgian investigating judge pressed charge to Iranian diplomat Assadullah Asadi and some of his assistants of terrorist operation attempt.

Assadullah Asadi, who holds Iranian citizenship, is a diplomat accredited to Iran's embassy in Austria. He was arrested in Brussels at the end of last June as a result of intelligence cooperation between France, Belgium, and Germany, and police found a large quantity of explosives and detonators in his car.


Middle East Europe