Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said the Netherlands' secret service had "strong indications" Iran was involved in the assassination of Dutch nationals in Almere in 2015 and in The Hague in 2017, as the European Union sanctioned two Iranian individuals and a unit of the Iranian intelligence agency Tuesday. Photo by Ahmed Jalil/EPA
Jan. 8 (UPI) -- The European Union announced sanctions Tuesday against a unit of the Iranian intelligence agency and two individuals for their alleged involvement in various assassination plots.
The move places both individuals and the intelligence unit onto the EU's terror list, accusing them of carrying out attacks as part of plots against Iranian opposition figures in Denmark and France.
As a result of the designation, the accused will have their assets frozen and will be subject to other restrictions.
Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said the Netherlands' secret service had "strong indications" Iran was involved in the assassination of Dutch nationals in Almere in 2015 and in The Hague in 2017
"The EU and the Netherlands take strong action against Iranian unlawful interference in Europe. Targeted sanctions and a clear message underline that this behavior is unacceptable and needs to stop immediately," Blok wrote on Twitter.
Iran has denied involvement in the attacks and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the Netherlands, Denmark and France of harboring terrorist groups that have attacked Iran.
"Accusing Iran won't absolve Europe of responsibility for harboring terrorists," he said.
Dutch, British, French, German, Danish and Belgian diplomats met with Iranian officials in the capital of Tehran to discuss the concerns that led to the sanctions.
The sanctions are the first the EU has imposed on Iran since the nuclear accord three years ago.
"Very encouraging that EU has just agreed on new targeted sanctions against Iran in response to hostile activities and plots," Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said. "EU stands united -- such actions are unacceptable and must have consequences."
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also wrote on Twitter that the United States "strongly supports the new sanctions" and stands with its allies in Europe.
"By taking action today, European nations sent Iran a clear message that terrorism will not be tolerated," Pompeo wrote.