DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran said Wednesday it has expelled two German diplomats over Berlin’s alleged interference in its internal affairs.
The move comes a week after Germany expelled two Iranian diplomats over a death sentence handed down to Jamshid Sharmahd, an Iranian-German dual citizen and opposition figure accused of masterminding deadly attacks.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry said it had also summoned the German ambassador over “excessive” demands, without elaborating.
Germany’s Foreign Ministry said Iran’s latest move was “completely unjustified.”
“With its (earlier) expulsions the German government reacted in an appropriate way to the death sentence against and the massive breach of the rights of German citizen Jamshid Sharmahd,” it said in a statement, adding that the German diplomats had “done no wrong.”
Iran has repeatedly summoned European diplomats in recent months as it has accused Western countries of being behind nationwide anti-government protests, without providing evidence.
The protests erupted over the death of a young woman in the custody of Iran’s morality police in September. The protesters deny having any foreign agenda and say they are fed up with decades of corruption, poor governance and Islamic theocracy.
Germany expelled the two diplomats a day after Iran sentenced Sharmahd, who had been residing in Glendora, California, prior to his detention. Iran accuses the 67-year-old of leading the armed wing of a a group committed to restoring the Western-backed monarchy that ruled Iran before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Sharmahd’s family says he was only a spokesman for the opposition group and deny he was involved in any attacks. They say he was abducted from Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, in 2020 and spirited into Iran.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires last week to protest against the death sentence.
Baerbock has said that Sharmahd, who lives in Glendora, California, did not have “even the beginning of a fair trial” and that consular access and access to the trial had been repeatedly denied. She has also alleged that he was arrested “under highly questionable circumstances,” without elaborating.