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Iran denies allegations of 'spying' on German army

Iran dismissed the German claims [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 January, 2019

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Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said the “enemies” were aiming to “sour relations” between Iran and Europe, dismissing German claims that an army employee was spying for Tehran.
Iran dismissed allegations by German prosecutors that an army employee was spying for Tehran, the semi-official ISNA news agency quoted Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghasemi as saying.

The “enemies” were aiming to “sour relations” between Iran and Europe, Ghasemi said, appearing to refer to the United States and Israel, which have pressed European nations to withdraw from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

The remarks came after last week, Germany’s federal prosecutor’s office said that a 50-year-old German-Afghan dual citizen was detained in the western Rhineland region. The German Defence Ministry confirmed the allegations but declined to give any further details.

German news site Spiegel Online reported that the suspect spied on the army for years and had access to highly classified material, including on German missions in Afghanistan.

Tensions between Iran and Europe have remained high in recent months.

Earlier this month, European Union hit Iran's intelligence services with sanctions after accusing Tehran of being behind assassination plots against dissidents in the Netherlands, Denmark and France.

The move by the 28-nation bloc was announced as the Netherlands accused Iran of being behind the murders of two dissidents on its soil in 2015 and 2017.

"Very encouraging that (the) EU has just agreed on new targeted sanctions against Iran in response to hostile activities and plots being planned and perpetrated in Europe, including Denmark," Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said. 

"[The] EU stands united - such actions are unacceptable and must have consequences," he tweeted.

The fresh sanctions put a freeze on funds and other financial assets of Iran's intelligence ministry and individuals.

Copenhagen spearheaded the move following allegations that Iran had attempted to kill three opponents of the Iranian regime on Danish soil.

France last year imposed sanctions on two suspected Iranian agents and others from Iran's ministry of intelligence and security. 

French security services concluded that the head of operations at Iran's intelligence ministry had ordered a plot to bomb a rally of the People's Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK) opposition group in a suburb of Paris in June last year - which Tehran strongly denied.

Several key EU states met with Iranian officials to convey their concerns about

"When the sanctions were announced, the Netherlands, together with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Denmark and Belgium met Iranian authorities," Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said in a letter to the Netherlands' parliament.

The meeting conveyed "serious concerns regarding Iran's probable involvement in these hostile acts on EU territory", he added.

Iran’s foreign minister hit back at Europe, saying EU sanctions on Tehran over alleged planned attacks in Europe “will not absolve Europe of responsibility for harbouring terrorists.”

“Europeans, incl(uding) Denmark, Holland and France, harbor MEK,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet, referring to an exiled Iranian opposition group Mujaheedin-e Khalq.

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