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Foreign Affairs

Diplomat Allegedly Masterminded Plot To Kill Expatriate Iranians In Paris

An Iranian diplomat arrested in Germany is the suspected mastermind of a thwarted attack on Iranians living in exile in France, German prosecutors said on July 11.

Assadollah Assadi, 46, who was based in Austria, was arrested in the southern German state of Bavaria on July 1 and remains in German custody.

He is suspected of passing a device containing 500 grams of explosives to a couple living in Belgium, who were tasked with carrying out the terrorist attack, prosecutors said.

They said the group planned to attack a rally near Paris on June 30 attended by some 25,000 Iranians opposed to the government in Tehran.

A Belgian special unit stopped the couple in their car in Brussels before they could carry out the attack. German police arrested the diplomat the next day at a gas station near the town of Aschaffenburg.

The United States has cited the alleged plot in calling on European allies to help rein in Tehran.

'Malign Bahavior'

"Just this past week there were Iranians arrested in Europe who were preparing to conduct a terror plot in Paris, France. We have seen this malign behavior in Europe," U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Sky News Arabia on July 11.

According to German state prosecutors in Karlsruhe, Assadi had been accredited since 2014 to the Iranian Embassy in Vienna, working for Iran's MOIS intelligence agency, which monitors opposition groups in Iran and abroad.

Assadi faces charges of espionage and conspiracy to murder under German law, but the prosecutors said he still could be extradited to Belgium.

Iran has denied the charges against Assadi and lodged protests with the embassies of Belgium, France, and Germany over the incident on July 4.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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