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Iran expels two German diplomats over Berlin’s ‘interventionist’ actions

Iran's Foreign Ministry building in Tehran. (File Photo)

Iran's Foreign Ministry has ordered the expulsion of two German diplomats after declaring them “persona non grata” over Berlin's interference in the country's "internal and judicial affairs".

The move came a week after Germany expelled two Iranian diplomats in response to the Islamic Republic sentencing to death the ringleader of a US-based terrorist group accused of carrying out terrorist activities against the people of Iran.

Nasser Kana'ani, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, on Wednesday announced that the two German diplomats had been declared “persona non grata” and ordered to leave over the Berlin government’s “irresponsible measures and interference in the internal and judicial affairs" of Iran.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will act decisively against excessive demands,” Kana'ani said as he pointed to the summoning of the German ambassador to Tehran by the Foreign Ministry’s director general of the Western Europe Department to inform him about the decision.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s priority has always been maintaining interaction based on respect, but if some parties intend to ignore the basic standards and national sovereignty of our country, alternative options are inevitable,” he added.

Germany’s Federal Foreign Office announced in a statement the last Wednesday that two employees of the Iranian Embassy in Berlin had been expelled from the European country.

The decision was made after the Iranian Judiciary sentenced Iranian citizen Jamshid Sharmahd, who also holds German citizenship, to death on charges of "corruption on earth” by planning and orchestrating terrorist acts against the Islamic Republic.

Germany also summoned Iran's charge d'affaires over the verdict, with Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock accusing the Islamic Republic of the “massive violation of the rights of a German citizen.”

Sharmahd, who is also a US resident, was the ringleader of the Tondar (Thunder) terrorist outfit. He was accused of planning a series of attacks, including a 2008 attack against a religious congregation center in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz, Fars Province, which killed 14 people and wounded hundreds.

Sharmahd and his Tondar group were also behind a 2010 terrorist bombing at Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s mausoleum in the Iranian capital, which left several people injured.

The 67-year-old is also accused of working with US intelligence and spying on Iran's ballistic missile program.

The Iranian Intelligence Ministry announced in a statement in August 2020 that it had arrested the terrorist ringleader, who had directed "armed operations and acts of sabotage" in Iran from the US.

Upon his arrest, Sharmahd admitted to providing explosives for the bombing attack in the Hosseynieh Seyed al-Shohada Mosque in Shiraz, in which 14 people were killed and more than 200 wounded.

The group had planned to carry out several high-profile and potentially deadly attacks across the Islamic Republic, but its efforts were thwarted by the intricate intelligence operations targeting the outfit, according to the Ministry.

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