Denmark consulting allies over possible Iran sanctions
COPENHAGEN - Denmark said Wednesday it was consulting with its allies about possible sanctions against Iran after accusing Tehran of plotting an attack against Iranian dissidents living in the Scandinavian country.
"We are going to reach out to our European allies in the coming days to try to find a united response," Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen told reporters during a meeting of Northern European leaders in Oslo.
British Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her support for Denmark at the meeting.
Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen was to begin contacting his European counterparts on Wednesday to discuss possible sanctions against Iran -- most likely economic ones, a diplomatic source said.
"We want to preserve the nuclear agreement," Lokke Rasmussen said, referring to how possible sanctions would approach the 2015 international accord on Iran's nuclear programme.
Denmark on Tuesday announced it was recalling its ambassador to Iran after the Danish intelligence service PET accused the Iranian intelligence service of "planning an attack in Denmark" against three Iranians suspected of belonging to the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz or ASMLA.
ASMLA is a separatist group that advocates an Arab state in a southwestern Iranian province. Tehran calls it a terrorist organisation.
A Norwegian of Iranian origin was arrested on October 21 for allegedly planning the attack and spying for Iran.
Iran has denied the allegations, saying they were part of a European conspiracy against the Islamic Republic.
Tehran summoned the Danish ambassador on Wednesday, foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said.
"In this meeting the (senior foreign ministry) official strongly denied the biased reports on a foiled attack plot on an Iranian dissident in Denmark and its attribution to the Islamic republic of Iran," Ghasemi said.
In late September, Tehran accused Denmark, the Netherlands and Britain of "hosting several members of the terrorist group" that Iran holds responsible for an attack in the mainly ethnic Arab city of Ahvaz in southwestern Iran.
The September 22 attack, during which five commandos opened fire on a military parade, left 24 people dead.
The so-called Islamic State group and a separatist Arab group claimed responsibility, and Iran staged several operations in Iraq and Syria in response.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that Washington stood behind Denmark, a NATO ally.
In Oslo for a meeting of the Nordic Council, Northern European leaders were prudent.
"We're working on a concrete response. We've said that we will react," Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said.
"We are following this very closely together with our Danish friends and when we know more we will make a decision about possible measures," Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said.