Iran threatens to retaliate after Dutch expel two diplomats

A handout picture provided by the office of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

:: Iran protested on Sunday against the Netherlands’ expulsion of two of its diplomats and threatened to retaliate for the “unfriendly and destructive move”.

A spokesman for the Dutch intelligence service AIVD told AFP on Friday that two employees of Iran’s embassy had been expelled on June 7, without providing further details.

The Dutch ambassador to Tehran was subsequently summoned to express Tehran’s “severe protest” at the move, Iran’s foreign ministry said in an online statement.

“As earlier announced to the ambassador of the Netherlands, the Islamic Republic reserves the right to retaliate,” foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said in the statement. The expulsion was “illogical and illegitimate” and Qassemi called on “Dutch officials to refrain from levelling baseless and absurd accusations”.

The two Iranian diplomats were expelled long before arrests announced on Monday by French, Belgian and German authorities of six people — including an Iranian diplomat based in Vienna — on suspicion of involvement in an alleged plot to attack the annual Free Iran rally organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in a Paris suburb on June 30.

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