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Denmark Detains Three Iranian Activists Suspected Of Praising Ahvaz Attack


Danish authorities say they have detained three members of an Iranian exile opposition group on suspicion of supporting terrorism.

Police said on November 7 that the trio was accused of having praised those behind a deadly attack in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz in September.

The suspects were held on preliminary charges. If convicted, they would face fines or up to two years in prison.

The three are members of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA), an Iranian ethnic Arab separatist group that Iran has blamed for the September attack.

Late last month, the Danish PET security service accused the Iranian intelligence service of plotting to assassinate the leader of the group's Danish branch. Tehran denied the allegation, calling it a conspiracy aimed at damaging Tehran's relations with the European Union.

Danish police spokesman Bjoerke Kierkegaard said the three detained Iranian suspects were accused of praising the five commandos who attacked a military parade in Ahvaz on September 22, spraying the crowd with gunfire and killing at least 25 people.

ASMLA, which seeks a separate state for ethnic Arabs in Iran's oil-producing southwestern province of Khuzestan, has condemned the violence and said it was not involved.

A Norwegian citizen of Iranian background has been detained in Sweden in connection with the alleged Iranian plot to kill the opposition activist on Danish soil and extradited to Denmark. The suspect, who remains in pretrial detention, denies any involvement.

Copenhagen has recalled its ambassador to Iran for consultations and summoned the Iranian ambassador. Denmark said it was also consulting with its allies about possible sanctions against Tehran.

Kierkegaard said that ASMLA members remained under Danish police protection out of fears they still may be targeted.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and dpa
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