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Iranian dissident stabbed in 'politically-motivated' knife attack in the Netherlands

Sadegh Zarza fled Iran to the Dutch city of Leeuwarden in the 1980s [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 June, 2020

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A Netherlands-based Iranian dissident was wounded after being stabbed repeatedly in an attack his family said was politically motivated.
An Iranian dissident was seriously wounded after being stabbed on Friday in the Dutch city of Leeuwarden, according to local newspaper the Leeuwarden Courant.

Sadegh Zarza, 64, who is involved with the Dutch branch of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, was stabbed in the head, neck, stomach and chest, according to the report.

Zarza fled Iran to Leeuwarden in the 1980s due to his political activities against the first Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, according to the Leeuwarden Courant.

The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, which advocates for Kurdish people's self-determination, is banned in Iran, with officials designating it a terrorist organisation.

According to the news report, Zarza was lured into meeting the knifeman after his former classmate from Iran called to ask him to help his son, who was thinking of studying in Rotterdam.

The 38-year-old knifeman allegedly waited for Zarza in a public area with a bouquet of flowers in his hands. An eyewitness told the Leeuwarden Courant that once Zarza drove over in his car, the attacker approached him and began stabbing him through the passenger seat window.

The suspect did not attempt to flee and was arrested at the scene of the crime.

Zarza's brother told the Leeuwarden Courant that he suspected the attack to be politically motivated, as the dissident had previously been threatened and targeted with foiled attacks by Iran's secret service.

Last year, the Netherlands recalled its ambassador from Tehran after Iran expelled two Dutch diplomats in a dispute over an alleged plot to assassinate regime opponents.

Dutch authorities had accused Iran of involvement in the murder of two dissidents on Dutch soil in 2015 and 2017, and the EU slapped sanctions on Tehran over the killings.

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