Dutch Freeze Contacts With Iran After Hanging

The Dutch government froze its official contacts with Iran on Saturday to protest the hanging of a Dutch-Iranian woman in Tehran, the Foreign Ministry said.

Zahra Bahrami.The Dutch government froze its official contacts with Iran on Saturday to protest the hanging of a Dutch-Iranian woman in Tehran, the Foreign Ministry said.

Iranian Ambassador Gharib Abadi was informed of the sanctions after he confirmed reports that Zahra Bahrami, 45, was executed. She had participated in protests against Iran's disputed presidential election in 2009.

Iranian state television reported she was hanged Saturday for possessing and selling drugs. The report said that initially Bahrami was arrested for committing "security crimes," but it did not say what became of that case.

Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal was "shocked, shattered by this act by a barbaric regime," said spokesman Bengt van Loosdrecht, especially since Abadi had assured the Dutch minister on Friday that Bahrami's legal avenues had not yet been exhausted.

The diplomatic freeze means Iranian embassy staff are forbidden from meeting or having contact with Dutch officials without prior written approval, Van Loosdrecht said.

The Foreign Ministry also advised other dual citizens against traveling to Iran, since Dutch consular officials would have no access to them if they are arrested for any reason.

"There is an arbitrariness when it comes to arresting people," the Dutch official said.

He said Rosenthal would raise the issue next week when the European Union foreign ministers meet in Brussels. The Netherlands will seek unspecified"collective measures" against Iran, Van Loosdrecht said.

Protesters took to the streets in 2009 after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election, saying the vote was marred by fraud and that opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi was the rightful winner.

Bahrami had been jailed in Iran since December 2009. Dutch diplomats were denied access to her because Iran refused to recognize her Dutch nationality. The Dutch government reportedly hired lawyers to defend her,

Bahrami was born in Iran, but gained Dutch citizenship after moving to the Netherlands.