Published: Wed, October 03, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Iran rejects France claims about foiled bomb plot against MKO

Iran rejects France claims about foiled bomb plot against MKO

France said on Tuesday there was no doubt Iran's intelligence ministry was behind a June plot to attack an exiled opposition group's rally outside Paris and it seized assets belonging to Tehran's intelligence services and two Iranian nationals.

The rally in the Paris suburb of Villepinte was attended by several allies of US President Donald Trump, including former NY mayor Rudy Giuliani and former House speaker Newt Gingrich, both of whom urged regime change in Iran.

"An attempted attack in Villepinte was foiled on June 30".

The United States, which has been intensifying pressure on Iran, on Tuesday issued a fresh warning after Paris accused Teheran's intelligence agency over a bomb plot.

The French government said it also froze the assets of Iran's Ministry of Security and Intelligence.

"This act of an extreme gravity envisioned on our territory could not go without a response", it said.

The Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), a fringe organisation loathed by Iran's establishment, had accused authorities in Tehran of planning the attack near Paris.

The moves threaten to trigger diplomatic tension between the two countries as France tries to keep Iran in the 2015 agreement to limit its nuclear program and amid widespread unrest in the Middle East. He was named as Saeid Hashemi Moghadam, a deputy minister and director general of intelligence.

The plot targeted a meeting of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) outside the French capital.

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Assadi was arrested in July near the German city of Aschaffenburg on a European warrant after a couple with Iranian roots was stopped in Belgium and authorities reported finding powerful explosives in their auto.

The diplomat, 46-year-old Assadollah A, was arrested in Germany, suspected of having been in contact with the two arrested in Belgium. According to Belgian media, police found 500 grams of TATP explosive and a detonator hidden in a toiletries bag.

A Belgian-Iranian husband and wife were arrested in a Brussels suburb and charged with plotting to bomb the rally. Foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi condemned the diplomat's arrest and called for his release.

Paris has also suspended nominating a new ambassador to Iran and did not respond to Tehran nominations for diplomatic positions in France.

The office was identified as the Direction of Internal Security at Iran's Intelligence Ministry.

The US considers Iran to be the world´s biggest state sponsor of terrorism because of its links with a host of armed groups, particularly the powerful Hezbollah militia in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories, as well as other networks in Iraq and Yemen.

Police detained six people in Belgium, France and Germany after authorities revealed the alleged plot.

"So, we call for French authorities' realistic view toward the Islamic Republic of Iran and once again warn of the evil hands of ill-wishers who seek to ruin deep-rooted ties between Iran and France as well as other influential European countries", the Iranian spokesperson pointed out.

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