Israeli diplomat confirms Mossad helped stop attempted assassination of the leader of the Danish branch of Iranian opposition group blamed by Tehran for attack on military parade in Khuzestan in which 25 Iranians were killed.
By Itamar Eichner
The Mossad provided Denmark and Sweden with the intelligence used to thwart a plot by the Iranian government intelligence service to assassinate an Iranian Arab opposition figure on Danish soil, an Israeli diplomatic official confirmed Wednesday.
The official said that due to increased efforts to foil attacks on Jewish and Israeli institutions, the Israeli spy agency collects a lot of information, including intelligence about plots that don’t necessarily target Israel or Jews.
It is believed the Israeli-provided information allowed the Danes to stop the assassins, who had explosives in their possession, early on.
According to Danish intelligence chief Finn Borch Andersen, the attack was meant to target the leader of the Danish branch of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA)—an opposition organization that Tehran blames for a September 22 shooting attack on a military parade in Khuzestan in which 25 Iranians were killed, many of them Revolutionary Guards troops.
After the attack in Khuzestan, Iran summoned the envoys of the Netherlands, Denmark and Britain and accused the three countries of harboring Iranian opposition groups.
On September 28, Danish police shut two major bridges to traffic and halted ferry services from Denmark to Sweden and Germany in a nationwide police operation to prevent a possible attack.
A few days earlier, the Norwegian suspect had been observed photographing and watching the Danish home of the ASMLA leader, police said.
On October 21, a Norwegian citizen of Iranian background was arrested in Sweden in connection with the plot and extradited to neighboring Denmark, Swedish security police said.
The suspect has denied wrongdoing and is being held in pre-trial custody until November 8. The Iranian government also denied any connection with the alleged plot.
On Wednesday, Iran expressed a “strong protest” to Danish ambassador to Tehran Danny Annan over what it described as the Danish officials’ “hasty, political” and “uncalculated actions” in the case.
This is the second time in the past few months that Iran has been accused of trying to harm exiled Iranian opposition activists on European soil. In June, France foiled an attempted Iranian attack on an Iranian opposition conference in Paris. That attempt was also thwarted with the help of the Israeli Mossad.
“The Mossad’s efforts have led to thwarting Iranian terrorism in France, Belgium, Austria, Germany and now Sweden and Denmark,” an Israeli official said.