France blames Iran for foiled Paris bomb plot

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أخر تحديث : mardi 2 octobre 2018 - 9:59
France blames Iran for foiled Paris bomb plot

French officials say Iran’s ministry of intelligence was behind a plot to bomb a rally of Iranian opposition groups in Paris in June


In a statement, the French government said it had frozen the assets of two senior Iranian officials

Iran insists the alleged plot is a fabrication, but has called for talks

In a possibly linked development on Tuesday, police in the French city of Dunkirk raided a Shia Muslim centre that has close ties to Iran

They made several arrests and froze the assets of the group

?What is the background

On 30 June, Iranian opposition supporters gathered in Paris for a meeting of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). Guests included US politicians Newt Gingrich, a former House speaker, and Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s lawyer

The NCRI is considered to be the political arm of dissident group Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), which Iran has designated as a terrorist organisation

It later emerged that two Belgian nationals of Iranian origin – a husband and wife known as Amir A and Nasimeh N – had been arrested by Belgian police in possession of half a kilogram (1.1lb) of explosives and a detonator

n a series of co-ordinated raids another man, identified only as Merhad A, was arrested in Paris and is accused of being an accomplice

German prosecutors say he is an intelligence agent who met the husband and wife team in Luxembourg where he ordered the attack and handed them the explosives

Austria stripped him of his diplomatic status after his arrest and Mr Assadi now faces extradition from Germany to Belgium for prosecution

?What does France say

On Tuesday, the French government said it believed that the Iranian intelligence ministry was behind the plot

It announced it was freezing the assets of two suspected Iranian intelligence operatives – believed to be Mr Assadi and Saeid Hashemi Moghadam, who a French diplomatic source said was head of operations at the intelligence ministry

French President Emmanuel Macron met his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last month

In a rare joint statement, the French interior, foreign and economy ministers said: « This extremely serious act envisaged on our territory could not go without a response

In taking this decision, France underlines its determination to fight against terrorism in all its forms, particularly on its own territory

?What has Iran said

Tehran again quickly denied any involvement, saying the alleged plot was designed by those who want to damage Iran’s long-established relations with France and Europe

We deny the accusations and forcefully condemn the Iranian diplomat’s arrest, and call for his immediate release, a foreign ministry statement said

But speaking later, ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi called for talks with France to clear up any misunderstanding

If there is a misunderstanding… about a thing that does not exist, be it a conspiracy by others or a mistake, we can sit down and talk about it,he told AFP news agency

?What happened in Dunkirk

Several people were arrested after police raided the headquarters of the Zahra Centre France and the homes of its leaders on Tuesday

Officials quoted by AFP said the assets of the centre were frozen. It is headed by Yahia Gouasmi, a French-Algerian who is known for his links to Iran and for his anti-Zionist views

Regional authorities said the operation was part of the « prevention of terrorism » procedures, but it was unclear if the arrests were linked to the Paris bomb plot

Founder of the Zahra Centre France, Yahia Gouasmi, speaks to journalists outside the centre near Dunkirk on October 2, 2018Yahia Gouasmi spoke to reporters outside the centre following the Dunkirk operation

By bbc.com
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