The Netherlands has formally frozen all contacts with Iran following the execution of a Dutch Iranian woman on drugs charges.
In a statement, the ministry said the move is to show the Netherlands’ disgust at the hanging of Zahra Bahrami on drugs charges. Other Iranian Dutch nationals are being advised not to travel to Iran.
‘The Netherlands is very shocked by this execution, this scandalous deed,’ foreign minister Uri Rosenthal said. ‘We had done all we could to prevent this barbarous act.’
On Friday, Iran’s ambassador to the Netherlands had told Rosenthal that not all avenues had been closed off, the minister said. ‘I really regret that Iran did not keep its word and we have to find out via the media.’
Any meetings or contacts with Iranian diplomats and other officials must now have prior written approval.
As well as freezing contact, the Netherlands will press for action against Iran at a European level, the minister said.
Sahra Bahrami, 46, was hanged for drug smuggling early on Saturday. She was arrested at the end of 2009 while on a family visit for taking part in anti-government protests.
Iran has rejected Dutch outrage, saying the execution was a domestic matter.
The Dutch ambassador to Iran was summoned to the Iranian foreign affairs ministry to be told Bahrami was a convicted drugs smuggler, which carries the death penalty.
The foreign minister has told other Dutch Iranians to avoid the country, warning them that they will have no access to consular help if they get into trouble.
Iran refused to recognise Bahrami’s Dutch nationality, making it difficult for the Dutch authorities to give legal assistance.
MPs from the two government parties CDA and VVD said Rosenthal was right not to recall the Dutch ambassador to Iran in protest at the killing.
‘There are other Dutch nationals in Iran and it is important to support her family,’ VVD foreign affairs spokesman Atzo Nicolai said told the Telegraaf.
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