The thwarted attack on an Iranian opposition gathering near Paris was part of a “stratagem” aiming to harm the Islamic Republic of Iran. Such was the assessment on Monday by the Iranian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, on his Twitter account. Zarif wrote, “Iran condemns unequivocally all forms of violence and terrorism, from wherever it comes from, and is prepared to work with all stakeholders to uncover what amounts to a evil stratagem led under a false banner.”
“As is common practice, right at the time when we are starting a presidential visit to Europe, an assumed Iranian operation and its ‘conspirators’ have been defeated,” added the Head of Iranian Diplomacy. He is accompanying the Iranian President, Hassan Rohani, during his official visit to Switzerland, which began on Monday afternoon.
Belgian authorities announced on Monday that an attack in Villepinte, in the suburb north of Paris, against a group known as the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (the “MEK”), a prohibited Marxist group, was thwarted on Saturday. The incident ended with the arrest in Brussels of a Belgian couple, of Iranian origin, in possession of explosives.
Around 25,000 people attended this meeting. Two individuals close to the American President, Donald Trump, the former President of the House of Representives, Newt Gingrich, and the former Mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, took part.
On Monday, the couple were charged with “attempting to commit a terrorist attack and preparing to commit a terrorist offence.”
The Public Prosecutor’s Office announced that the investigation, conducted in cooperation with the French and German judicial authorities led to the arrest for questioning of three suspects placed in police custody in France. Also arrested for questioning in Germany was an Iranian diplomat based in Austria, a contact of the couple. In France, two people were released, with a third remaining in police custody. The information came from a judicial source on Monday.
The People’s Mujahedin of Iran swiftly accused Tehran of having stirred up “an attack…against the major Iranian Resistance group in Villepinte.”
As alluded to above, the announcement by the Belgian authorities coincides with the beginning of a visit to Europe by President Rohani, intended to enable the continuation of the Iranian international nuclear agreement of 2015, following the withdrawal of the United States in May from this pact. Significantly, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran had always denounced the agreement. After his stay in Switzerland, on Monday and Tuesday, Mr Rohani moves to Vienna on Wednesday.
The Brussels Times