Minister freezes contacts with Iran

Minister of Foreign Affairs Uri Rosenthal has frozen all official contacts with Iran. This and other measures reflect the horror felt in the Netherlands at the execution of the Dutch-Iranian Zahra Bahrami in Iran. The Iranian ambassador in the Netherlands will now only receive limited access to the Dutch authorities. Dutch-Iranians have been advised against travelling to Iran.

Earlier in the day, the Iranian ambassador Gharib Abadi had been summoned to the Ministry after reports in the Iranian media about Ms Bahrami’s execution. Mr Abadi confirmed the reports.

Responding to the news, Mr Rosenthal began by expressing his deepest sympathy with Ms Bahrami’s family and next of kin. ‘The Netherlands is extremely shocked by this execution, this outrage,’ he went on. ‘We did our utmost to prevent this act of barbarism. Yesterday I learned from ambassador Abadi that proceedings were still ongoing in Ms Bahrami’s case. I very much regret the fact that Iran has not kept its word and that we had to hear this appalling news from the media.’

The Netherlands will consider additional measures in response to the execution. Action at EU level will also be discussed at the Foreign Affairs Council meeting on Monday. It is unacceptable to the Netherlands that a death sentence was handed down and that no consular access was granted to Ms Bahrami.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs has protested in the strongest terms against the execution. Not all of the charges against Ms Bahrami had been examined by the court. Mr Rosenthal said that it was highly unusual for such an execution to take place before all legal remedies had been exhausted.

The Ministry has issued new travel advice in response to these events. Dutch-Iranians are urgently advised not to travel to Iran. It will not be possible to provide Dutch consular assistance in the event of arrest. The legal process in Iran lacks transparency and harsh sentences are imposed.