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US accuses Iran of plotting Paris attack

Iranian officials dismissed the case as a "false flag" operation, claiming the MEK itself was behind the scheme.
By Michael Wilner

WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration accused Tehran on Tuesday of plotting a terrorist attack against a regime opposition rally held in Paris last month.

German authorities stopped an Austria-based Iranian diplomat based on Sunday on a European warrant, claiming he and a couple in Belgium had planned to bomb a large gathering of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq group. Vienna had lifted the Iranian official's diplomatic immunity based on intelligence provided by the Belgian authorities. And France also detained an individual of Iranian origin suspected to be involved in the plot.

Iranian officials dismissed the case as a "false flag" operation, claiming the MEK itself was behind the scheme. The Iranian regime and its supporters claim that the MEK is a terrorist organization. But a senior State Department official said the administration is unconvinced.

The US takes the charges "very seriously," the official told reporters. "We are working very closely with the Belgians and the Austrians and the Germans to get to the bottom of this plot to conduct a bomb attack in Paris that had two Americans speaking, attending."

Asked if the administration believes Iran is responsible, the official said, "yes, we do."

Senior State Department officials traveled to Austria, Saudi Arabia and Belgium this week to discuss ways to further pressure Iran economically, in light of President Donald Trump's withdrawal from an international nuclear deal in May.

The Paris plot, the official said, "exemplifies" the danger of Iran's government.

"We had an Iranian diplomat out of the Austrian embassy as part of the plot to bomb a meeting of Iranian opposition leaders in Paris," the official said. "And the United States is urging all nations to carefully examine diplomats in Iranian embassies to ensure their countries’ own security."

"If Iran can plot bomb attacks in Paris, they can plot attacks anywhere in the world," the official said, "and we urge all nations to be vigilant about Iran using embassies as diplomatic cover to plot terrorist attacks."
US accuses Iran of plotting Paris attack Reviewed by Chidinma C Amadi on 8:32 PM Rating: 5

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