January 9, 2019 / 2:59 PM / 3 months ago

Iran says it will reciprocate after EU sanctions Iranians

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Iran said on Wednesday that it would reciprocate after the European Union added two Iranian individuals and an Iranian intelligence unit to the bloc’s terrorist list.

EU ministers agreed on Tuesday to add the names to the list and freeze their assets, effective from Wednesday, as the Netherlands accused Iran of two killings on its soil and joined France and Denmark in alleging Tehran plotted other attacks in Europe.

The move although in part symbolic since one of the men is in prison in Belgium, marked the first time the EU has enacted sanctions on Iran since lifting a host of curbs on it three years ago following its 2015 nuclear pact with world powers.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi called the EU’s actions “illogical” and “surprising”.

“Iran will adopt the necessary measures in response to this move and within the framework of reciprocation,” Qassemi said in a statement published on the ministry’s official website.

Iran has denied any involvement in the alleged plots, saying the accusations were intended to damage EU-Iran relations.

“These listings have been adopted by the Council as part of its response to recent foiled attacks on the European soil,” the European Council said in a statement on Wednesday.

Qassemi, in his statement, accused the EU of supporting “terrorist groups” such as the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO), a group that seeks to overthrow the Iranian government.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Additional reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Philip Blenkinsop and Susan Fenton

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