Denmark arrests suspect over Iranian 'assassination' plot

Denmark's Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen speaks about the alleged assassination attempt during a news conference in Copenhagen on Tuesday.

(CNN)Denmark's security forces say they have arrested a man over an alleged plot by the Iranian intelligence service to assassinate an Iranian-Arab opposition figure on Danish soil.

The alleged plan had meant to target the leader of the Danish branch of the separatist Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz (ASMLA), Danish Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anne Møller Ege told CNN.
The suspect is a Norwegian citizen of Iranian descent and was arrested on October 21, Ege said. The Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) allege the man conducted reconnaissance for Iranian authorities who planned to kill the opposition leader.
    ASMLA, which Iran classifies as a terror organization, advocates for an independent Arab state within the Iranian province of Khuzestan.
      In a statement on Wednesday, PET said it has been working on the "highly unusual and very serious" case for "an extended period of time."
      The plan was foiled in late September following a "comprehensive police operation" across Denmark that saw bridges shut down and train operations suspended, the statement said.
      "Plans by a foreign intelligence service to assassinate an individual in Denmark are in no way justifiable," the intelligence service added.
      According to PET, Danish authorities have been providing "personal protection" to the ASMLA leader in question since the spring of 2018 in response to "tangible threats" from Iran, and have been working with foreign partners to investigate suspected Iranian intelligence activity in Denmark "for an extended period of time."

      Iran rejects claim

      Tehran has rejected what it calls "hostile" Danish claims.
      On Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi dismissed the claim and said it was in line "with the enemies' plots and conspiracies against the good and ever-growing Iran-Europe relations under present grave and special conditions," according to state-run IRNA news.