Europe

France, Germany to Extradite Iranian Terror Suspects to Belgium

Two Iranian nationals, recently arrested by France and Germany, will be extradited to Belgium in connection to a terror plot that targeted an Iranian opposition rally outside of Paris, Reuters reported Wednesday.

The rally, which took place Saturday, was held by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an Iranian opposition group. Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s lawyer, spoke at the rally calling for the removal of the regime’s rulers.

On Saturday, Belgian authorities arrested an Iranian couple who had 500 grams of a homemade explosive and a detonator in their car.

France has arrested a man of Iranian origin and Germany had arrested an Austria-based Iranian diplomat. According to Reuters, Belgium asked France and Germany to extradite their suspects. A European intelligence source told Reuters that Belgium was taking the lead in the investigation.

On Wednesday, Iran’s foreign ministry summoned the  ambassadors of France, Germany, and Belgium to protest the arrest of the Iranian diplomat. Earlier in the day, Iran had also protested to France over allowing the NCRI meeting to take place on French soil. Iran considers the group to be a terrorist group.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi dismissed the European claims about a terror plot, saying that the arrest was part of a plot by the United States and Israel to damage European-Iranian relations. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif similarly referred to the charges as a “sinister false flag ploy.”

Iran has been accused in the past of planning terror attacks, especially targeting opponents of the regime, on European soil. In November of last year, an advocate for Iranian-Arabs was fatally shot in the Hague. In 2012, an al Qaeda terrorist testified in court that Iran facilitated the travel of  him and his accomplices to carry out terror attacks in Europe.

In one of the most notorious of these cases, Iranian agents entered a Berlin restaurant and killed three Kurdish activists and wounded several others in a hail of gunfire. The conviction of the assassins, who were tied to the regime, led to a rupture in relations between Germany and Iran.

[Photo: France24 / YouTube ]