France Blames Iran for Paris Bomb Attack Plot, Freezes Iranian Assets
The plot of the Iranian intelligence targetted the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
France’s government has declared that Iran’s intelligence was behind a foiled bomb plot against a rally of an exiled opposition group, and retaliated by freezing Iranian assets.
The bomb plot in question targeted a meeting of the Paris-based outside the French capital.
The rally was attended by US President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and several former European and Arab ministers.
The plot was foiled following the arrest in Germany of Asadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat accredited in Austria, while two other individuals were arrested in Belgium with explosives, and another was busted in France.
“Behind all this was a long, meticulous and detailed investigation by our (intelligence) services that enabled us to reach the conclusion, without any doubt, that responsibility fell on the Iranian intelligence ministry,” a French diplomatic source said, as cited by Reuters, after the French government announced the freezing of Iranian assets.
According to the source, the attack initiated by Assadollah Asadi was ordered by Iran’s deputy minister and director general of intelligence Saeid Hashemi Moghadam. The Iranian ministry of intelligence is controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“We cannot accept any terrorist threat on our national territory and this plot needed a firm response,” the French diplomatic source said.
On Monday, a court in southern Germany ruled the Iranian diplomat could be extradited to Belgium.
“We deny once again the allegations against Iran and demand the immediate release of the Iranian diplomat,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.
“[This was a plot] designed by those who want to damage Iran’s long-established relations with France and Europe,” he said.
The French government did not provide details about the frozen assets other than that belonged to a unit within Iran’s intelligence service and the two leaders of the plot, Asadi and Moghadam.
According to the French diplomatic source, the freezes cover assets and financing means in France, although neither individual at this stage has any assets in France.
“We hope this matter is now over. We have taken measures and said what we needed to say,” the source said, suggesting Paris was seeking to turn a page on the issue.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s government is presently looking to the key EU states to save the 2015 Iranian nuclear program deal abandoned by US President Donald Trump, and any tensions with France could prove a further complication to the deal’s survival.
(Banner image: TV grab from YouTube)