EU imposes sanctions on Iranian officials for assassination attempts on European soil

The European Union decided on Tuesday to slap sanctions on an Iranian service and two of its officials for assassination attempts on European soil, Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen said on Tuesday within the framework of investigations in Denmark, France and Belgium.

The sanctions take the form of a freeze on assets held in Europe by a branch of the Iranian intelligence ministry placed on the European list of terrorist organisations and two of its members.

Copenhagen had accused Tehran in October last of mounting an operation on its soil against the local representative of an Iranian Arab separatist group in retaliation for a deadly attack in Iran.

The French authorities, for their part, had announced in late June that they had foiled an attack planned by the Iranian intelligence services and targeting a meeting by an opposition group in France. A Belgian-Iranian was arrested during that operation.

A Belgian couple of Iranian origin suspected of planning the attack had also been arrested in Brussels with 500 grammes of TATP, a very unstable home-made explosive, in their car. An Iranian diplomat suspected of handing over the explosives to the couple, was also questioned in Germany.

These developments have strained relations between the European Union and Iran without, however, leading the EU to call into question the nuclear agreement concluded with Iran in 2015, from which Washington has since withdrawn.

The EU makes a clear distinction between these issues and the nuclear agreement, Minister Samuelsen said on Tuesday.

Iran has systematically rejected the accusations levelled against it, denouncing a plot to hurt relations between the EU and Tehran.

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