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France Freezes Iranian Assets Over Foiled Paris Bomb Plot on Exiled Opposition

France said Tuesday that it had seized assets belonging to Iran’s intelligence services and two Iranian nationals in response to a plot to bomb an exiled Iranian opposition group’s rally outside Paris in June, The Times of Israel reported [1].

The attack was reportedly thwarted by Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, in cooperation with European allies.

Senior French official said the government had no doubt that elements of the Iranian state were behind the terror plot. “This extremely serious act envisaged on our territory could not go without a response,” France’s interior, foreign and economy ministers said in a rare joint statement.

The ministers added: “In taking this decision, France underlines its determination to fight against terrorism in all its forms, particularly on its own territory.”

The asset freezes target two individuals identified as Assadollah Asadi and Saeid Hashemi Moghadam, the French decree said. Asadi is an Iranian diplomat accredited in Austria, who was arrested over the bomb plot last month and is set to be extradited from Germany to Belgium for prosecution.

The countermeasures by France could have serious consequences for the Islamic Republic, coming at a time when Iran’s regime is looking to European countries to salvage the JCPOA, known as the 2015 nuclear accord, after the United States pulled out.

At the UN General Assembly in New York, the United States, Israel and Arab allies warned last week of the threat posed by Iran and called for harsh sanctions against the regime. They criticized Europe’s support for the nuclear accord and what they called a policy of appeasement.

“The same week Iran was caught red-handed for trying to murder European citizens, European leaders were laying out the red carpet for President Rouhani, pledging to give them more money,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in his speech in front of the full assembly.

U.S. President Donald Trump had earlier warned in his address that, “We cannot allow the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism to possess the planet’s most dangerous weapons.” The President added that the U.S. asked “all nations to isolate Iran’s regime as long as its aggression continues, and we ask all nations to support Iran’s people as they struggle to reclaim their religious and righteous destiny.”

In August, the first round of renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran entered into effect as part of Washington’s strategy to apply “maximum pressure” on the Islamic Republic over its illicit nuclear and non-nuclear activities. A second round of sanctions, targeting Iran’s energy industry, will take effect on November 5.

[Photo: WikimediaCommons/Flickr/ Alex Thomson]