THE HAGUE, March 4 (Xinhua) -- The Dutch government has called back its ambassador in Tehran, Iran, for consultations, the Dutch Foreign Ministry announced on Monday in a statement.
The decision follows the announcement by the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that two Dutch employees at the Dutch embassy in Tehran have been declared persona non grata and had to leave the country.
The Iranian ambassador was summoned to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague. "It has been made clear to him that the expulsion of two Dutch members of staff is unacceptable," Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said in the statement.
The two diplomats returned to the Netherlands on Monday. "For themselves, their family and the team they left behind, such an abrupt departure was a shock," said Blok. "They will get all the support they need."
Iran's Foreign Ministry on Monday confirmed that the Islamic republic has expelled two Dutch diplomats in a tit-for-tat response to the Netherland's earlier expulsion of two Iranian diplomats.
The move by Iran comes two months after the Netherlands accused Iran of an alleged plot to assassinate opponents on Dutch soil. The Dutch government later expelled two members of staff of the embassy of Iran in The Hague.
Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi rejected the accusations concerning Iran being behind political killings in the Netherlands as "baseless."
Following the move by the European country, Iran decided on a tit-for-tat response, said Qasemi.