The Netherlands recalls Ambassador from Iran over execution

THE HAGUE: The Netherlands on Monday said it is recalling its ambassador to Iran over the execution of an Iranian-Dutch woman last week, the country's Foreign Ministry said.

The 45-year-old Zahra Bahrami, who was accused of being a member of an international drug trafficking ring, was executed on Saturday for allegedly using her Dutch connections to smuggle cocaine to Iran. Iranian authorities said 450 grams of cocaine and 420 grams of opium had been found during a search of her house.

The Dutch government had worked to prevent Bahrami from being executed as she also had a Dutch passport. But Iran's Ambassador to the Netherlands, Kazem Gharibabadi, said that Iran did not have any legal commitment to listen to the Dutch side as it does not recognize double-nationality.

Immediately after the announcement of Bahrami's execution, the Netherlands froze all its official contacts with Iran and complained that the European nation had been assured there was still time to appeal. On Monday, a Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesman said it was recalling its ambassador to Iran for consultations over the execution.

Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal on Monday said he would also complain to Iranian authorities about the "disrespectful actions of Iranians towards the relatives of Bahrami," as cited by the news portal. He added that the fact that Bahrami's mother was unable to attend her daughter's funeral on Sunday "draws the character of the regime [in Iran]."

There are conflicting reports as to how Bahrami was executed on Saturday. Iranian officials said she was hanged while other reports claim that Bahrami was tortured to death while being interrogated by authorities.

Bahrami's family also claims that she did not smuggle drugs and that the drug charges were fabricated in response to her participation in anti-government protests in 2009. But Iran's Foreign Ministry denied those allegations as a 'pretext to exert pressure on the country.'

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast also advised the West 'to realize' that if the issue of combating drug trafficking is not taken seriously, it will directly affect their own youth who will be entrapped by drug traffickers.

Iran says more than 4,000 Iranian police officers have been killed in the fight against drug trafficking in recent years.


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