Netherlands recalls ambassador from Iran | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 07.02.2011
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Netherlands recalls ambassador from Iran

The Netherlands has withdrawn its ambassador to Iran in protest of a Dutch-Iranian woman's death at the hands of Iranian authorities. The move came amid revelations she may have died during torture.

Iranian police prepare a public execution in 2007

Iranian claims that Bahrami was hanged are under dispute

Dutch officials say the Netherlands is recalling its ambassador to Iran in protest of a Dutch-Iranian woman's execution last week.

The Dutch Foreign Ministry made the announcement on Monday after Iranian officials reportedly buried Zahra Bahrami's body far from the Iranian capital of Tehran. She was 46.

"We were dismayed at the way the Iranians treated her bodily remains," said a ministry spokesman.

"The family was entitled to receive the remains. But she was buried 400 kilometers (249 miles) away from Tehran so the family could not attend the funeral."

Cause of death under dispute

Dutch-Iranian Zahra Bahrami

Bahrami was born in Iran and became a naturalized Dutch citizen

The Netherlands had already frozen diplomatic relations with Iran after an Iranian public prosecutor announced Bahrami was hanged on January 29 for smuggling cocaine.

However, Iranian blogs and news websites have reported that Bahrami actually died during torture by Iranian officials.

Her family says Iranian authorities fabricated the drug charges after arresting her for participating in anti-government protests last December while visiting relatives.

During her detention, Iranian authorities denied Bahrami access to Dutch consular services, arguing Iran does not recognize dual citizenship.

There was no immediate response from Iran about the Dutch ambassador's withdrawal.

Author: Shant Shahrigian (dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Martin Kuebler

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