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Dutch government confirms Iranian involvement in two assassinations in the Netherlands

Tuesday, 8 January, 2019 - 20:10

The Dutch authorities confirmed on Tuesday that Tehran was responsible for the assassination of two Iranian opponents living in the Netherlands. In a letter co-signed with his colleague from the interior, Kajsa Ollongren, and addressed to the Chamber of Deputies, Foreign Minister Stef Blok pointed to the involvement of the Iranian services in the assassination, in Almere, in 2015, of Ali Motamed, 56, an electrician whose true identity was Mohammad Reza Kolahi Samadi, according to Dutch intelligence.

The Iranian military had been looking for him since June 28, 1981. Tehran accused him of carrying out an attack on the seat of the Islamic Republic’s party in the Iranian capital two years after the 1979 revolution, resulting in the death of Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, one of the most influential clerics of the day.

In 2017, a second opponent, Ahmad Mola Nissi, 52, was shot dead in the centre of The Hague. Living in the Netherlands since 2006, he was one of the leaders of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (AMSLA), a political and military movement funded mainly by Saudi Arabia, according to the Dutch services.

The local separatist movement has been linked to jihadist groups in Iraq since the fall of its former boss, the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, in 2003. The Iranian authorities hold it responsible for an attack perpetrated against a military parade in Ahvaz , in September 2018. Claimed by the Islamic State organization, the attack killed 24 people. Three members of the AMSLA living in exile in Denmark were subsequently targeted by an assassination plan, foiled in October, the Copenhagen authorities said.

Citing the need not to influence ongoing judicial investigations, Mark Rutte’s government has so far refused to confirm Iran’s role in the assassinations in the Netherlands. During the summer of 2018, however, two diplomats were sent back to Tehran and the Iranian ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Ministry.

Mr Blok also points out that his country has largely contributed to the adoption of a new European sanctions component, unveiled on Tuesday 8 January. The EU is targeting the Internal Security Directorate of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence, along with its leader, Deputy Minister Saeid Hashemi Moghadam, and a former Vienna diplomat, Assadollah Asadi. Funds and other financial assets of the service and its managers have been frozen.


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