Danish envoy summoned by Iran over Copenhagen embassy attack

Denmark’s ambassador to Iran has been summoned by the foreign ministry in Tehran after at least six people broke into its diplomatic mission in Copenhagen, taking down the Islamic Republic’s flag and putting up offensive placards.

Danish envoy summoned by Iran over Copenhagen embassy attack
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran on Jaunary 17, 2017. Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP/Scanpix

“Following four anti-revolutionary elements’ attack on our country’s embassy in Copenhagen on the current day [Thursday], the ministry’s director for Northern and Eastern European affairs summoned the Danish ambassador to Tehran and strongly condemned this action which is contrary to the international regulations,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi stated, according to the pro-government Tehran Times.

According to several media outlets, Denmark's ambassador Ambassador Danny Annan was given a dressing-down over Denmark’s failure to provide the embassy and its staff with sufficient security. Iran also demanded that Danish authorities appropriately deal with the people involved in the attack.

Henrik Stormer at the Copenhagen police said six people had been arrested in the attack. Four of the suspects are thought to be Iranian nationals who have sought asylum in Sweden, as well as two others who hold Swedish residency.

It was the second time this year that Iran’s diplomatic mission in Copenhagen has been targeted in such an attack.

The suspects allegedly entered the embassy’s courtyard, taking down the Iranian flag and putting up profane banners and signs.

The Danish foreign ministry told Danish news agency Ritzau that it had been in contact with the Iranian embassy in Copenhagen.

“Obviously we regret the violations at the Iranian embassy and have expressed our sympathies with the embassy staff,” it said in written comment.

In January, six people were also arrested after forcing their way into the diplomatic premises to protest the Iranian regime.


Danish terror trial begins against Iranian separatists

Three leaders of an Iranian Arab separatist group pleaded not guilty to financing and promoting terrorism in Iran with Saudi Arabia's backing, as their trial opened in Denmark on Thursday.

Danish terror trial begins against Iranian separatists
File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The three risk 12 years in prison if found guilty.

Aged 39 to 50, the trio are members of the separatist organisation ASMLA (Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz), which is based in Denmark and the Netherlands and which Iran considers a terrorist group.

The three, one of whom is a Danish citizen, have been held in custody in Denmark since February 2020.

Gert Dyrn, lawyer for the eldest of the three, told AFP that in his client’s opinion “what they are charged with is legitimate resistance towards an oppressive regime.”

“They are not denying receiving money from multiple sources, including Saudi Arabia, to help the movement and help them accomplish their political aim,” Dyrn said. 

His client has lived as a refugee in Denmark since 2006. 

According to the charge sheet seen by AFP, the three received around 30 million kroner (four million euros, $4.9 million) for ASMLA and its armed branch, through bank accounts in Austria and the United Arab Emirates.

The trio is also accused of spying on people and organisations in Denmark between 2012 and 2020 for Saudi intelligence.

Finally, they are also accused of promoting terrorism and “encouraging the activities of the terrorist movement Jaish Al-Adl, which has activities in Iran, by supporting them with advice, promotion, and coordinating attacks.”

The case dates back to 2018 when one of the three was the target of a foiled attack on Danish soil believed to be sponsored by the Iranian regime in retaliation for the killing of 24 people in Ahvaz, southwestern Iran, in September 2018.


Tehran formally denied the attack plan in Denmark, but a Danish court last year jailed a Norwegian-Iranian for seven years for his role in the plot. 

That attack put Danish authorities on the trail of the trio’s ASMLA activities.

Sunni Saudi Arabia is the main rival in the Middle East of Shia Iran, and Tehran regularly accuses it, along with Israel and the United States, of supporting separatist groups.

Lawyer Gert Dyrn said this was “the first case in Denmark within terror law where you have to consider who is a terrorist and who is a freedom fighter.”