PARIS (Reuters) – France seized assets belonging to Iran’s intelligence services and two Iranian nationals in response to a June plot to attack an exiled Iranian opposition group’s rally outside Paris, the government said on Tuesday.
FILE PHOTO: Supporters of Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), attend a rally in Villepinte, near Paris, France, June 30, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo
France had warned Tehran to expect a robust response after an Iranian diplomat was arrested in Germany suspected of involvement in a plot to bomb the meeting of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
U.S. President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and several former European and Arab ministers attended the rally in Villepinte.
“An attempted attack in Villepinte was foiled on June 30. An incident of such gravity on our national territory could not go unpunished,” said a joint statement by the foreign, interior and economy ministries.
A spokesman at the Iranian Embassy in Paris did not immediately respond to a request for comment. There was no immediate response to the French move from Tehran.
The asset freezes targeted two individuals identified as Assadollah Asadi and Saeid Hashemi Moghadam, the French statement said. A unit within the Iranian intelligence services was also targeted.
The hardening of relations with France could have wider implications for Iran. France has been one of the strongest advocates of salvaging a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, which U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of in May.
On Monday, a court in southern Germany said the detained Iranian diplomat, who is accredited in Austria, could be extradited to Belgium, where two other individuals suspected of involvement in the bomb plot were arrested on June 30.
They were caught in possession of explosives.
Earlier on Tuesday, some 200 police, some of them elite officers from Paris, swooped at dawn on a Muslim center in northeastern France. Two security sources said the raids were not linked to the asset freezes.
Additional reporting by Paris bureau, Maria Sheahan in Frankfurt; Editing by Jon Boyle, William Maclean