Washington, DC – The United States welcomed the European Union’s (EU) move to impose new sanctions on Iran as Brussels targeted two individuals and Iran’s Intelligence and Security Ministry for plotting terrorist attacks in Europe in recent times.
Posting a map showing 14 alleged Iran-sponsored terrorist attacks in EU countries, as well as Albania and Turkey, in the past 39 years, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo tweeted: “Today, EU issued its first sanctions against the Iranian regime since the Iran deal, and the Netherlands disclosed that Iran directed the assassinations of two Dutch nationals in 2015 and 2017. This follows Denmark and France foiling two Iranian terrorist attacks in 2018.”
In a following tweet, Secretary Pompeo referred to an Iranian-backed militant group in Lebanon, saying, “Iran and Hizballah have terrorized Europe since 1979.”
Pompeo further commended the EU action saying, “By taking action today, European nations sent Iran a clear message that terrorism will not be tolerated. The US strongly supports the new sanctions and stands with our European allies as we counter this common threat.”
With this EU action and Pompeo’s reaction, the earlier EU-US rift on Iran seems to have healed for now. The allies had drifted apart after US President Donald Trump walked out of the Iran nuclear arms control deal last year and threatened sanctions against EU firms who did business with Tehran.
Earlier the EU substantiated its fresh sanctions move by alleging that Iran ordered four terrorist attacks in Europe in recent times while Tehran’s agents plotted to bomb an Iranian opposition rally in France and to assassinate an opposition member in Denmark last year.
They also murdered two Iranian dissidents in the Netherlands in 2015 and 2017, as per a statement by the Dutch foreign ministry on January 8.
The latest round of EU sanctions moved to freeze the assets and banned entry to the EU of Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat suspected of plotting the French attack, and Saeid Hashemi Moghadam, a senior Iranian intelligence official.
The move, coming three years after a nuclear arms control treaty was agreed, further froze the assets of the directorate for internal security of the Iranian ministry for Intelligence and Security.
The Dutch government had “strong indications that Iran was involved in the assassinations of two Dutch nationals of Iranian origin” in 2015 and 2017 Dutch foreign minister Set Blok said in a letter to the Dutch parliament justifying the latest EU move on Iran.
“Hostile acts of this kind flagrantly violate the sovereignty of the Netherlands and are unacceptable,” he noted.
“Iran is expected to cooperate fully in removing the present concerns and, where necessary, aiding in criminal investigations. If such cooperation is not forthcoming, further sanctions cannot be ruled out,” Blok added.
The new sanctions were a “strong signal from the EU” that it “would not accept” assassination plots on its territory, Denmark’s foreign minister Anders Samuelsen said.
“EU stands united – such actions are unacceptable and must have consequences,” Danish prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen added.