Netherlands blames Iran for murders of dissidents
The Netherlands on Tuesday accused Iran of being involved in the murder of two dissidents on Dutch soil, and said the EU would be hitting Tehran with sanctions partly as a result of the killings.
The Dutch secret service "has strong indications that Iran was involved in the assassinations of two Dutch nationals of Iranian origin in Almere 2015 and in The Hague in 2017," Foreign Minister Stef Blok said in a letter to parliament.
"These individuals were opponents of the Iranian regime," he said in the letter, also signed by Dutch Interior Minister Kajsa Ollongren.
"The Netherlands considers it probable that Iran had a hand in the preparation or commissioning of assassinations and attacks on EU territory," the ministers said.
They added that the EU had on Tuesday "partly at the recommendation of the Netherlands" agreed to impose fresh sanctions on Iran.
Dutch police have previously named the two victims as Ali Motamed, 56, who was killed in the central city of Almere in 2015, and Ahmad Molla Nissi, 52, murdered in The Hague in 2017.
Last June, the Netherlands expelled two workers from the Iranian embassy in connection with the murders.
Tehran at the time protested the expulsion of the two diplomats as an "unfriendly and destructive move" and threatened to retaliate.
Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen had earlier confirmed that the EU had agreed on new sanctions targeting the Iranian Intelligence and Security Ministry and two Iranian nationals.
Denmark had led efforts for sanctions after allegations that Tehran tried to kill three Iranian dissidents on Danish soil.
France had meanwhile hit two suspected Iranian agents with asset freezes over a plot to bomb a rally held by the National Council of Resistance or Iran (NCRI) near Paris in October.