Iranian diplomat arrested over alleged Paris bomb plot

By Daniel Uria  |  July 3, 2018 at 9:34 PM
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July 3 (UPI) -- An Iranian diplomat was arrested in Germany in connection with a plot to bomb an Iranian opposition event in France.

The diplomat, identified as 47-year-old Assadollah A., was stopped by police while driving a rental car on a highway in the state of Bavaria on Sunday, a Berlin-based journalist told VOA.

Belgian authorities said the Iranian diplomat was detained in Germany on Monday as a contact of a Belgian married couple of Iranian heritage. The couple was arrested earlier by Belgian police in Brussels after they were caught with 500 grams of TATP explosive and a detonator hidden in a toiletries bag.

Belgian prosecutors identified the couple as 38-year-old Amir S. and 33-year-old Nasimeh N. and charged them with attempted terrorist murder and preparing a terrorist act for plotting to bomb a Saturday meeting of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

A fourth suspect was also arrested in France in connection to the plot authorities said was targeting the event near Paris, which was attended by U.S. President Donald Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, The Guardian reported.

The NCRI is led by Iranian exile group Mujahedin-e Khalq, which advocates the "overthrow" of "religious dictatorship" in Iran, and accused the Iranian government of coordinating the attack.

"The conspiracy of the terrorist dictatorship ruling Iran to attack the grand gathering of the Iranian resistance in Villepinte, Paris, was foiled," the secretariat of the NCRI said.

The arrests came as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani embarked on a tour of Europe.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed the accusations as false in a post on Twitter Monday.

"How convenient: Just as we embark on a presidential visit to Europe, an alleged Iranian operation and its 'plotters' arrested. Iran unequivocally condemns all violence and terror anywhere, and is ready to work with all concerned to uncover what is a sinister false flag ploy," he wrote.

Belgium's interior minister, Jan Jambon, said there had been no threat to the country and offered praise to police, security and judicial services for their "rapid and effective intervention."

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