France Freezes Iranian Assets After Attempted Terror Attack

(Bloomberg) -- The French government imposed sanctions on two Iranian individuals and Iran’s interior security intelligence service for what it said was an attempted attack against a meeting of an Iranian opposition group near Paris.

In a joint statement issued Tuesday by the foreign, interior and finance ministries, France said, “an act of such gravity planned on our territory can’t be left without response.” It named the individuals as Assadollah Asadi and Saeid Hashemi Moghadam. The office was identified as the Direction of Internal Security at Iran’s Intelligence Ministry. The French are accusing the Iranian intelligence ministry of ordering the attempted attack, Agence France-Presse reported, citing diplomatic sources.

On Monday, AFP reported that Germany extradited to Belgium an Iranian diplomat suspected of being part of a plot to bomb a June 30 gathering by about 25,000 of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, or People’s Mujahedeen of Iran, at Villepinte near Paris. That same day, two Belgians of Iranian descent were arrested near Brussels with explosives that inspectors believe were being brought to the rally, and an Iranian diplomat posted to Vienna was arrested in Germany on suspicion of directing the operation.

“The foiled attack at Villepinte confirms the necessity of a demanding approach in our relations with Iran,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in the statement.

France has sought to maintain the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, but has said it wants to rein in the country’s meddling in the region.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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