Denmark Will Ask Europe to Impose Fresh Sanctions on Iran

(Bloomberg) -- Denmark wants the European Union to impose fresh sanctions on Iran after finding evidence of a planned assassination of an Iranian opposition leader in the Nordic country.

Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen says the information he has received from his country’s intelligence service leaves “no doubt” that Iran’s government was planning to murder one of its citizens in Denmark.

Denmark, which has recalled its ambassador from Tehran as ties between the two countries collapse, says it has received strong backing from the U.K. and the U.S. in its calls for new sanctions against Iran. Samuelsen has made clear, however, that such measures wouldn’t affect Denmark’s commitment to Europe’s role in the Iran nuclear deal, which he says remains in his country’s “best interests.”

Read more: Iran Summons Danish Ambassador as Assassination Claim Roils Ties

Large parts of Denmark were cordoned off on Sept. 28 as police across the country worked to prevent the planned assassination. Iran has “strongly rejected” the reports, described by the foreign ministry as the “continuation of enemy plots,” according to state-run news agency Mehr.

Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen says Denmark chose to make public its knowledge of the planned assassination on its soil “to show Iran that we won’t accept such behavior,” according to comments to newswire Ritzau. “This isn’t something that’s just happening in Denmark. The Iranians are also active in other countries.”

According to Israeli media, the country’s Mossad spy agency tipped Denmark off about the plot. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in May that Israel had helped thwart attacks in more than 30 countries.

In a Tweet, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised Denmark for stopping the attack, and used the opportunity to urge “allies and partners to confront the full range of Iran’s threats to peace and security.”

The European Commission said it was aware of the reports and was in touch with the Danish authorities.

“We deplore any threat to EU security and take every incident extremely seriously,” Maja Kocijancic, EU spokeswoman for foreign affairs, told reporters in Brussels. The commission now expects Denmark to brief member states “as soon as possible,” Kocijancic said.

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