France has accused Iran's intelligence ministry of being behind a foiled plot to bomb an exiled opposition group near the French capital, AFP reported Wednesday (October 3rd).
The French government announced Tuesday it was freezing assets belonging to two suspected Iranian intelligence operatives, as well as others belonging to Iran's ministry of intelligence and security.
France's decision to take retaliatory measures and go public with the accusations was taken three months after the alleged plot to bomb a meeting of the People's Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK) in a suburb of Paris.
"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.
"In taking this decision, France underlines its determination to fight against terrorism in all its forms, particularly on its own territory."
A French diplomatic source told AFP that the security forces had concluded that "the head of operations at the (Iranian) intelligence ministry ordered it".
Iran immediately denied any involvement, as it did in July when the MEK accused it of being responsible.
The US, which has been intensifying pressure on Iran, warned that "this outrageous behaviour will not be tolerated" in a tweet from the White House's National Security Council.
The alleged bomb plot came to light two days after thousands of Iranian opposition supporters gathered at an exhibition centre outside Paris on June 30th.
Belgium announced in July it had arrested a couple in a Brussels suburb who were suspected of preparing to drive a car packed with explosives to the French rally.
A total of six people were then detained in co-ordinated raids by European police, including an Iranian diplomat based in Vienna.
The diplomat, Assadollah Asadi, was targeted by the asset freezes announced by French authorities Tuesday, along with Saeid Hashemi Moghadam, who the French diplomatic source said was head of operations at the intelligence ministry.
Asadi is set to be extradited to Belgium to face trial, German authorities announced on Monday.