March 4, 2019 / 12:24 PM / 6 months ago

Dutch recall ambassador to Iran after diplomats expelled

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Netherlands on Monday recalled its ambassador to Iran for consultations after diplomats at its embassy in Tehran were expelled, Foreign Minister Stef Blok said.

The move comes just two months after the Netherlands accused Iran of being behind political killings in the Netherlands that triggered new European Union sanctions against Tehran.

“The government has decided to recall the Dutch ambassador in Tehran for consultations,” Blok said in a statement. “This decision follows the announcement by the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that two Dutch diplomats at the embassy in Tehran have been declared persona non grata and have to leave the country.”

The diplomats have already returned to the Netherlands, Blok said.

The Iranian ambassador to the Netherlands was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in The Hague to explain the expulsions, which Blok said in a letter to parliament “is not acceptable and is negative for the development of bilateral relations.”

In a letter to parliamemt, Blok said the expulsion of Dutch staff from Tehran was in response to the earlier expulsion of two Iranian diplomats from the Netherlands in June 2018, due to strong indications from the AIVD (intelligence agency) that Iran has been involved in the liquidations on Dutch territory of two Dutch people of Iranian origin.

Iran has denied any involvement in alleged plots in Europe.

Reporting by Anthony Deutsch and Toby Sterling; Editing by Toby Chopra

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