By Jubin Katiraie
The EU has imposed new sanctions on Iran following revelations that Iran has ordered four terrorist attacks in Europe in recent years.
In June 2018, Iran plotted to bomb a rally held by the Iranian Resistance in Paris. Thankfully, European officials thwarted this plot and no one was hurt before the four individuals who tried to carry out the plot were arrested.
Iran was also responsible for a plot to kill a member of the Iranian opposition in Denmark in October, which resulted in a public hunt for the would-be killer.
The final nail in the coffin though was the statement on Tuesday from the Dutch foreign ministry that they held Iran responsible for the murder of two Iranian opposition members in the Netherlands in 2015 and 2017.
Dutch foreign minister Stef Blok told the Dutch parliament that there are "strong indications that Iran was involved in the assassinations of [the] two Dutch nationals of Iranian origin" and explained that Iran should assist in the investigations.
He said: "Hostile acts of this kind flagrantly violate the sovereignty of the Netherlands and are unacceptable. 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".
As well as sanctions, the EU has added the Iranian Introduced Agency and two of its operatives, including senior intelligence official Saeid Hashemi Moghadam, to its counter-terrorism register. This means that any assets held by them in the EU will now be frozen and they will be banned entry into the bloc. Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi who was also added to the list is already under arrest for his alleged role in the Paris plot from last June.
Denmark's foreign minister Anders Samuelsen said that the new sanctions were a "strong signal” from the EU that it "would not accept" these plots on its territory, while Danish prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen advised that this showed a “united” EU willing to say that these actions are “unacceptable and must have consequences".
The US has also applauded the move, with US secretary of state Mike Pompeo calling it an "Important day for European foreign policy!"
These are the first EU sanctions against Iran since the 2015 nuclear deal came into full force three years ago and existing sanctions on Iran’s financial, oil and gas, and transport sectors were lifted.
However, it’s important to note that the EU did maintain an arms embargo, a ban on missile technology, and the travel ban and asset freezes on 82 Iranians and one entity for human rights abuses.