Iran responsible for two assassinations in Netherlands, security service says

Ahmad Mola Nissi of the ASMLA
Ahmad Mola Nissi, leader of Iranian separatist group ASMLA, was shot dead in Den Haag on Nov. 8, 2017photo: ASMLA

Iran is almost certainly behind the assassination of two persons of Iranian descent in the Netherlands, Ministers Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs and Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs wrote in a letter to parliament on Tuesday. Dutch intelligence service AIVD has strong indications of the country's involvement in the murders of Mohammad Samadi in Almere in 2015 and Ahmad Nissi in The Hague in 2017, they wrote.

On Tuesday the European Union imposed sanctions on the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security and on two people involved in the assassinations. Their bank accounts have been frozen, the Ministers wrote. The EU believes that Iran was also involved in other "enemy actions" on European territory, including thwarted attacks in Denmark and France. "Iran has been informed that involvement in such actions is totally unacceptable and must be stopped immediately", the Ministers wrote.

The two murdered Dutch-Iranians both opposed the regime in Tehran, according to NOS. Mohammad Samadi was sentenced to death in Iran for a bomb attack on the headquarters of the Islamic Republican Party. And Ahmad Nissi was the founder of the Arab Struggle Movement, which fights for the independence of a region in the west of Iran. 

Criminal investigations are still ongoing into the assassinations of these two men. These investigations has not yet confirmed Iran's involvement in the murders, but according to Blok and Ollongren, that is not unusual. "The valuation of information within the criminal law system is different from the valuation of intelligence by the intelligence services", they wrote. The police have linked the two murders, though the police identify the Almere victim as Ali Motamed. According to Het Parool, Samadi went by the name Ali Motamed in the Netherlands. 

In June last year the Dutch government deported two Iranian diplomats. At the time, no reason was given. But the letter from Blok and Ollongren now shows that their deportation had to do with the murders of Samadi and Nissi. It was a clear signal that the government considers it unacceptable that Iran is probably behind these serious crimes, they wrote to parliament.