31 January 2011
The Netherlands has frozen diplomatic relations with Iran in protest of the execution by the regime in Tehran of a Dutch-Iranian woman on Saturday. The government in The Hague said it will ask the European Union to take action against Iran. Zahra Bahrami, 45, was hanged on Saturday in Tehran’s Evin prison for allegedly possessing and selling drugs, over a year after she was detained during protests against the contested re-election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal said he was informed by the Iranian ambassador to the Netherlands about Bahrami’s execution and immediately condemned it as “a barbaric act of the Iranian regime.”
The minister said the Netherlands had therefore decided "to freeze all official contacts with Iran” and added that EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton would investigate possible measures against Iran.The woman's daughter was quoted by the New York-based rights group International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran as saying the drug charges had been fabricated. The Iranian Embassy in the Netherlands defended the execution.
In a statement, it maintained that Bahrami was a member of an international drug trafficking ring. Her Dutch lawyer, Adrie Tilburg, questioned the fairness of her trial. Bahrami was already the 71st person to be executed in Iran this year, according to figures by the human rights organization Amnesty International.
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