10/03/2018, 09.44
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Paris: Teheran behind the failed June attack. Iran denies the accusations

According to the transalpine government the Iranian intelligence ministry is behind the foiled attack on Villepinte against an anti-Tehran opposition group. Assets of two senior officials of the Islamic Republic frozen. Tehran rejects claims and hopes for new talks to dispel the "misunderstandings".

Teheran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The French authorities accuse the Intelligence Ministry of Tehran of having planned a (failed) bomb attack last June, targeting an Iranian opposition group in Paris. In a note the transalpine government claims to have arranged the freezing of assets of two senior officials of the Islamic Republic.

Iranian leaders have claimed that the attack has been "framed" and renews the invitation to the Élysée for further clarifying talks.

On June 30th, some supporters of the Iranian opposition met in Villepinte, a town not far from the capital Paris, in the context of a meeting promoted by the National Council for Resistance in Iran (Ncri). Among the personalities present were US politicians Newt Gingrich, former president of Parliament, and Rudy Giuliani, personal attorney of US President Donald Trump and former mayor of New York.

The NCRI is considered the political arm of the dissident movement Mujahideen-e-Khalq (Mek): for Teheran it is a terrorist organization that aims to overthrow the regime of the ayatollahs. In the days following the alleged (unfinished) attack, the Belgian police arrested two citizens (husband and wife) of Iranian origin, in possession of over a pound of explosives. Amir A and Nasimeh N [the police did not want to reveal the whole identity] are implicated in the attempt to attack the French anti-Tehran dissident movement. A third man, called Merhad A, was arrested in Paris and also accused of complicity.

With an official note released yesterday, the French government openly accuses the Iranian intelligence ministry of having planned the Villepinte attack. The joint document signed by the Ministry of the Interior, Foreign Affairs and Economy speaks of "a very serious gesture on our territory" that could not remain "unanswered".

The  Iranian government strongly denies all involvement. According to Teheran groups that "intend to damage long-term relations with France and, more generally, with Europe" are behind the attempted attack . Bahram Ghasemi, spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, hopes for new talks with the Elysee to dispel "any misunderstanding".

Finally, yesterday, in an event that could be linked to the attack foiled early this summer, the French police raided the headquarters of a Shiite Muslim association, Center Zahra France, in the town of Dunkirk.

Investigators suspect that the center would have woven close ties with Iran to promote religious and political activities of an "extremist" nature. The agents have made numerous arrests, seized different probative material and frozen the assets of some belonging to the group. In recent years, its members had intertwined ties with anti-Zionist groups of the extreme right.

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