Iran accuses Netherlands of backing 'terrorists'

8th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Iran accused The Netherlands on Tuesday of backing 'terrorists' amid a diplomatic spat between the two countries over the execution and hushed burial of a Dutch-Iranian woman in Iran.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast accused the The Netherlands of making "a human rights issue out of an indefensible drug case and applying political pressure" on Iran.

"We can see an example of the wrong path of Western countries, especially The Netherlands, in supporting terrorist groups... who have over 12,000 killings in their records," Mehmanparast said at his weekly press conference.

He was alluding to the Islamic republic's armed opposition, the People's Mujahedeen Organisation of Iran, some of whom live in western Europe as refugees.

"The behaviour of these statesmen is turning their countries into a sanctuary for criminals, smugglers and terrorists.

"It is really deplorable that those countries which claim to defend human rights and pose as civilised support cases involving crime, adultery or drug trafficking," Mehmanparast said.

The Netherlands on Monday summoned Iran's ambassador in The Hague to protest the hushed burial of Zahra Bahrami, who was hanged on January 29 after being convicted of a drugs offence.

The Netherlands said the Dutch ambassador to Tehran was also being brought back to The Hague for consultations after Bahrami was buried in the absence of her family, who had wished to be present.

Bahrami, a 46-year-old Iranian-born naturalised Dutch citizen, was initially arrested in the aftermath of the widespread protests in 2009 that followed disputed elections in Iran but was executed for drug trafficking.

Bahrami's execution has been condemned by the European Union and the United States, which urged the Islamic republic to halt all executions.

Her execution last month prompted the Dutch government to freeze all diplomatic contact with what it labelled a "barbarous regime" in Iran.

According to a report on Dutch public radio, which cited an Iranian human rights body, Bahrami was buried on Sunday some 400 kilometres (250 miles) outside Tehran.

Iran has hanged 67 people so far this year, according to an AFP tally based on Iranian media reports, and Tehran maintains that 80 percent of those hanged were drug smugglers.

© 2011 AFP

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