Iranian plot in Paris

Tehran’s response to the serious accusations levelled by the French has been surreal.
Sunday 07/10/2018
French police stand guard outside the Iranian Embassy in Paris after protesters spayed red paint on the embassy’s sign, last September. (AFP)
French police stand guard outside the Iranian Embassy in Paris after protesters spayed red paint on the embassy’s sign, last September. (AFP)

French authorities did not mince words about suspected Iranian involvement in an aborted terrorist plot last July against an Iranian opposition rally in Paris.

A French diplomatic source told Reuters the results of “a long, meticulous and detailed investigation by our (intelligence) services” that enabled Paris to “reach the conclusion, without any doubt, that responsibility fell on the Iranian Intelligence Ministry.”

French authorities moved quickly to freeze Iranian intelligence services assets. French anti-terrorism agencies raided a Shia centre in the northern French town of Dunkirk, which they accused of “clear support for several terrorist organisations.”

The Iranian plot was corroborated by investigations in Paris, Vienna, Brussels and Berlin.

The plot started to unravel three months ago after Belgian authorities arrested an Iranian national couple in Brussels. The couple was allegedly preparing to use an explosives-laden car against a meeting in Paris of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, attended by Middle Eastern and US dignitaries.

Among those subsequently arrested was Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat based in Vienna. He is to be extradited from Germany to Brussels.

Tehran’s response to the serious accusations levelled by the French has been surreal. “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,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said.

What is even more surreal is the timing of the plot. It comes when European nations have been looking to safeguard what’s left of the Iranian nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and to find ways to circumvent US sanctions against Tehran.

State terrorism on the sovereign territory of other nations is a glaring violation of international law and of every basic ethical or diplomatic covenant. Even from the cynical and calculating perspective of ruthless Iranian operatives, such a plot could only further isolate Iran and hasten the chance of additional sanctions by the United States and European capitals.

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