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EUROPEAN UNION

Danish envoy returns to Iran after foiled assassination plot

Denmark said Tuesday its ambassador would return to Iran this week, three weeks after he was recalled over Copenhagen's assertion that Tehran tried to kill three Iranian dissidents on Danish soil.

Danish envoy returns to Iran after foiled assassination plot
A file photo of a foreign ministry press meeting. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

“The ambassador is going back to Iran on Thursday,” Danish foreign ministry spokeswoman Anne Møller told AFP.

Denmark has accused Tehran of plotting an “attack” against three Iranians believed to be members of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA) who live in Denmark.

Tehran blames ASMLA, which it calls a terrorist organisation, for an attack on a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz on September 22nd, spraying the crowd with gunfire and killing 24 people.

Iran has rejected the Danish allegations, claiming Tehran's enemies are conspiring to ruin its relations with Europe.

Copenhagen has been consulting with its European allies about possible sanctions against Tehran.

“In the meeting yesterday (Monday), we received a lot of support. We are still looking at what kind of sanctions can be applied to Iran,” Møller said.

“A new phase has begun to counter Iran's unacceptable behaviour. Danish diplomacy will focus heavily on supporting these efforts in European capitals, in Brussels and in Tehran,” a foreign ministry statement said.

READ ALSO: EU to consider sanctions on Iran for failed attack plots in France, Denmark

IMMIGRATION

Denmark to cut wait for family reunion after losing European court case

Denmark is to reduce the amount of time refugees need to wait before apply for family reunification after The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the current "three-year rule" was excessive.

Syrian refugees protest outside Denmark's parliament against Denmark's decision that the area around Damascus is now 'safe'.
Syrian refugees protest outside Denmark's parliament against Denmark's decision that the area around Damascus is now 'safe'. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

In a press release issued on Friday, the country’s immigration ministry said that it would next year submit a bill amending the country’s immigration law, or udlændingeloven to reduce the length of time refugees need to wait before applying for family reunion from three years to two.

But the new law will also contain a clause allowing Denmark to bring back the “three-year rule” at short notice if there is a refugee crisis.

“I of course regret that the verdict went against Denmark,” Mattias Tesfaye, Denmark’s immigration minister, said in statement, adding that he was nonetheless “relieved” that the court had deemed a two-year wait acceptable, and had also left open the possibility of longer waits during periods of extremely high refugee numbers.

“We are working hard to keep our refugee numbers at a record low, but if we today have a situation similar to 2015, we want to be able to lift the limit from two to three years. That is a good tool to have in our toolbox.”

The so-called MA case was brought by the Syrian doctor Mosalam Albaroudi, who arrived in Denmark in 2015 and then five months later applied for family reunification with his wife and was rejected.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled on July 9th that the reason for the rejection of his reunification visa was a violation of human rights.

The case concerns a controversial change to Denmark’s laws in 2016, when Denmark’s Parliament (Folketing) passed the so-called “three-year rule” that required refugees to wait three years before applying for family reunification.

That’s why Albaroudi’s application was denied a residence permit for his wife. The decision was upheld by Denmark’s Supreme Court in 2017.

Albaroudi and his lawyer, Christian Dahlager, believed the decision violated the European Convention on Human Rights, and so they continued their efforts to overturn the ruling.

The Convention states that everyone has the right to privacy and family life, and that an authority can restrict this right only if it is necessary in a democratic society to protect a number of essential interests of society. It applies to members of the Council of Europe, to which Denmark belongs.

In its decision, the European Court of Human Rights stated that Denmark’s three-year waiting period has not “struck a reasonable balance between, on the one hand, the applicant’s interest in being reunited with his wife in Denmark and, on the other hand, society’s interest as a whole in being able to control immigration in order to protect the country’s economic well being, to ensure effective integration and to maintain the cohesion of society.”

Sixteen judges voted in favor of Albaroudi, and one judge abstained. The court also awarded Albaroudi compensation of 75,000 kroner.

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