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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

France says Iranian state behind foiled bomb plot

French authorities seized assets belonging to Iran's intelligence services in retaliation for failed attack

French President Emmanuel Macron meets Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the UN General Assembly. AFP
French President Emmanuel Macron meets Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the UN General Assembly. AFP

Iranian intelligence services ordered the foiled bombing of an opposition rally near Paris in June, French diplomatic sources say.

Assets of two members of the country's intelligence services were frozen on Tuesday by French authorities in retaliation for the attack.

French intelligence services concluded that Iran's deputy minister and director general of intelligence, Saeid Hashemi Moghadam, ordered the failed bomb plot in Paris.

Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat also accused of masterminding the plot against the National Council of Resistance of Iran is thought to have supplied explosives.

Both of the men have had their assets frozen.

Iran's ministry of security and intelligence, which also had its assets frozen and is controlled by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, ordered the attack, French sources told Reuters.

"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 intelligence ministry," the source said.

The decision to freeze the assets was linked to the foiled bomb plot in the capital, but Paris will take no further retaliatory measure.

"An attempted attack in Villepinte was foiled on June 30. An incident of such gravity on our national territory could not go unpunished," the authorities said.

Mr Assadi's extradition from Germany, where he was arrested, to Belgium, where he will face prosecution, was approved on Monday.

The move comes after about 200 police officers raided a Shiite Islamic centre in the French port city of Dunkirk. The raid on the Zahra Centre France was part of a counter-terrorism procedure, regional authorities said.

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A security source said 11 people were arrested, and French authorities also froze the centre's financial assets. It is headed by Yahia Gouasmi, who is known for his anti-Zionist views and links to Iran.

It is unclear if the raid was linked to the June bomb plot against the National Council of Resistance of Iran in Paris.

The opposition group has several high-profile backers, including US President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Police arrested six people in Belgium, France and Germany after the plot was foiled. A married couple was arrested in Belgium in June with 500g of explosives and a detonator, which authorities believe were given to them by Mr Asadi.