The long arm of Riyadh

Saudi money for anti-Iran 'terror channel' and demonstrations in the Netherlands

February 9, 2022 - 21:39

TEHRAN-- The controversial anti-Iran satellite channel Ahwazna TV in Rijswijk has been financed with money from the Saudi intelligence service. The Saudis were also billed for demonstrations by the separatist movement ASMLA.

The financing of the TV channel and at least one demonstration in The Hague is apparent from research by Dutch investigative program Argos, the Danish public broadcaster DR and the Norwegian NRK.

The Denmark-based leadership of the Arab-Iranian movement ASMLA requested and received large sums through the Saudi intelligence service for its organization in Europe and its armed branch in Iran. The ASMLA – the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz - resorts to violence in the Iranian region of Khuzestan for independence.

ASMLA leader Habib Jabbor and two other leaders were found guilty of spying and financing terrorism in Iran on Friday after a months-long closed-door trial in Denmark. They worked closely with the Saudi intelligence service under the code name MS32. However, many details have not been disclosed. On Monday, a journalistic investigation made it clear that the group also spied against people in the Netherlands, including another Dutch-Iranian terrorist Faleh Abdullah al-Mansouri.
Last autumn, the Rotterdam court already convicted another ASMLA member: presenter and manager of Ahwazna TV Eisa S. from Delft. Despite denials, he was jailed for four years for coordinating and financing attacks in Iran in conjunction with the Danish ASMLA leaders.
The Arab-Iranian separatist movement ASMLA has secretly collected information for the Saudi intelligence service about a large number of people in Europe, including the Netherlands. Among them is the Dutch-Iranian terrorist Faleh Abdullah al-Mansouri.

Ahwazna TV

Satellite channel Ahwazna TV of ASMLA has been based in Rijswijk since 2017 and calls for a fight against Iran. The channel even brought news of attacks that ASMLA was behind. An example is the killing of two alleged members of the Revolutionary Guards on a motorcycle on November 12, 2018 in Abadan. This action was filmed and published through Ahwazna TV's social media channels. In app conversations between Eisa S., ASMLA leader Habib Jabor and a contact person 'Issi' in Iran, the attackers are called 'our boys', it is about the amounts that the perpetrators have received and it is stated that the attack should be breaking news.

Of a total budget for ASMLA of more than seven million euros for the period 2017-2019, about 1.2 million was earmarked for Ahwazna TV in the Netherlands, according to police documents that were viewed by journalists from DR in collaboration with Argos and NRK. The TV channel is one of the targets for which funding has been sought through liaison officers from the Saudi intelligence agency GIP. The Danish court has assumed that ASMLA did in fact receive "significant sums" from the Saudis in response to these applications.


The broadcasts from the Netherlands would have been suspended in the meantime. The Saudi embassy in the Netherlands has not responded to a request for a hearing.

In Denmark, Ahwazna TV has been banned for two years because the channel 'has grossly broken the law by showing programs that promote both direct and indirect terrorism'.


ASMLA also organized demonstrations in Europe against Iran and for the separation of Ahwaz. For this, the ASMLA leadership also requested funding from Saudi Arabia and a budget was drawn up. Money was needed for plane tickets, hotels, buses, and allowances for journalists. Refugees from asylum-seekers centers also had to be paid to participate. That would have cost 60 euros per person. Arab news channels were promised to report. 

Police documents mention an amount of 400 thousand euros, including 190 thousand euros for a demonstration in The Hague and 80 thousand for a demonstration in Copenhagen. The communication dates from late 2014 and early 2015. In 2015, there were manifestations of ASMLA in Copenhagen and Brussels, among others, and in 2016 at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where Eisa S. and Habib Jabor were present.

Armed Branch
ASMLA have had public statements approving and claiming responsibility for attacks in Iran. It is also significant a tapped board meeting of ASMLA in February 2020. There it was discussed that it would be better to refrain from aggressive and violent statements from now on because the Danish authorities and international partners would no longer tolerate this. When asked 'does this mean that we should put aside the armed struggle', Habib Jabor answers that this is not the case, but that 'there must be a new definition'.

Chat conversations between the ASMLA leaders, Eisa S. and individuals in Iran explicitly discussed targets, payments, recruiting perpetrators, purchasing weapons and filming attacks. 'If you can hit them and shoot the film well and there will be deaths, then help will come for you that is unimaginable to you,' said Eisa, for example, to his contact person 'Issi' in Iran. In 2018, in particular, there was a series of bank arson attacks and attacks associated with ASMLA in the Iranian region of Khuzestan. The Danish criminal case showed that converted at least 2 million euros was obtained from Saudi Arabia for the armed branch of ASMLA. 

Tehran has been raising the ASMLA and Saudi Arabia terrorist acts for years and repeatedly asked the Dutch and Danish governments to intervene.  In the Netherlands, the report says, co-founder Ahmad Mola Nissi who was shot dead in The Hague in 2017, although had already broken up with Habib Jabor's group in 2015, precisely because of Saudi Arabia's influence on the group. An assassination attempt on Jabor in Denmark was narrowly thwarted in September 2018. Habib Chaab from Sweden is brought to justice in Iran.

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