Tehran – 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.
It did not explain why the announcement was made more than a month after the expulsions.
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”.
Qassemi also called on the Dutch government to explain “its move to shelter the criminal and terrorist members” of Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mujahedeen.
Tehran banned the People’s Mujahedeen in 1981 and the European Union put the group on a terror blacklist between 2002 and 2009.
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 a Mujahedeen rally in a Paris suburb on June 30.
Tehran has said the alleged plot was a “false flag ploy” to harm Iran and that two people arrested in Belgium were members of the Mujahedeen.
Meanwhile, KLM airlines also announced the suspension of its flights to Iran.
The Dutch airline KLM announced on Saturday that it will suspend its direct flights to Tehran, delivering another blow to Iran’s struggling economy.
“As a result of the negative results and financial outlook for the Tehran operation, the last flight will take off from Amsterdam on September 22, 2018 and land at Schiphol on September 23,” KLM said in a statement.