Dutch ends Iran ties over hanging
The Dutch government has frozen official contacts with Iran to protest the hanging of a Dutch-Iranian woman, the foreign ministry said.
Gharib Abadi, the Iranian ambassador was informed of the sanctions after he confirmed reports that Zahra Bahrami, 45, was executed in Tehran on Saturday.
His embassy later said the hanging was 'an internal issue' that should have no impact on diplomatic relations.
Iranian state television reported Bahrami was hanged for possessing and selling drugs. The report said that initially Bahrami was arrested for committing 'security crimes,' but it did not say what became of that case.
Bahrami had been jailed in Iran since December 2009 after protests against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election. Protesters took to the streets, saying the vote was marred by fraud and that opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi was the rightful winner.
Bengt van Loosdrecht, the Dutch foreign ministry spokesman, said Uri Rosenthal, the foreign minister, was "shocked, shattered by this act by a barbaric regime.''
Dutch diplomats had been denied access to Bahrami while she was in prison because Iran refused to recognise her Dutch nationality. The Dutch government reportedly hired lawyers to defend her.
The diplomatic freeze means Iranian embassy staffs are forbidden from meeting or having contact with Dutch officials without prior written approval, Van Loosdrecht said.
The foreign ministry also advised other dual citizens against travelling to Iran, as Dutch consular officials would now have no access to them if they are arrested.
Van Loosdrecht said Rosenthal would raise the issue next week when European Union foreign ministers meet in Brussels.
The Netherlands will seek unspecified 'collective measures' against Iran, Van Loosdrecht said.