Tehran threatens to retaliate after the Netherlands expels two Iranian diplomats


Tehran protested on Sunday the expulsion of two Iranian diplomats in the Netherlands and threatened to retaliate for the “unfriendly and destructive move.”

The Dutch ambassador to Tehran was summoned to the Foreign Ministry ion Sunday and was told to explain his country’s move.

Pressure has been growing on Tehran over a plot to blow up an anti-regime rally in Paris last weekend.

The Dutch intelligence service AIVD said the two staff at the Iranian Embassy had been ordered out last month, but did not say why.

“As earlier announced to the ambassador of the Netherlands, the Islamic Republic reserves the right to retaliate,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said.

The expulsion was “illogical and illegitimate” and Qassemi called on “Dutch officials to refrain from levelling baseless and absurd accusations.”

Four people, one of them an Iranian diplomat at its embassy in Vienna, were arrested last week accused of plotting an explosion on June 30 at a rally in Paris held by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which called for regime change in Tehran. The envoy has since been stripped of his diplomatic immunity from prosecution.

Economic pressure on Iran is also growing, following the withdrawal of the US from the 2015 nuclear deal and the expected resumption of economic sanctions.

The Dutch airline KLM is to halt flights to Tehran “as a result of the negative results and financial outlook” following the US withdrawal. Its last flight will leave Amsterdam on Sept. 22 and return on Sept. 23.

KLM ceased flights to Tehran in 2013, but resumed them in 2016 after the nuclear deal was signed.

One of the world’s biggest cargo shippers is also pulling out of Iran for fear of becoming entangled in US sanctions.

The announcement by France’s CMA CGM that it was quitting Iran deals a blow to efforts by President Hassan Rouhani to persuade European countries to offer economic benefits to offset the new US sanctions.

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