Germany charges Iranian diplomat over opposition rally bomb plot
An Iranian diplomat suspected of involvement in a bomb plot against an Iranian opposition rally in France was charged in Germany on Wednesday with activity as a foreign agent and conspiracy to commit murder.
Assadollah Assadi, a Vienna-based diplomat, is suspected of contracting a couple in Belgium to attack an annual meeting of an exiled Iranian opposition group in Villepinte, near Paris, German federal prosecutors said.
He allegedly gave the Antwerp-based couple a device containing 500 grams of the explosive TATP during a meeting in Luxembourg in late June, prosecutors said in a written statement.
Assadi was detained earlier this month near the German city of Aschaffenburg on a European warrant after the couple with Iranian roots was stopped in Belgium and authorities reported finding powerful explosives in their car.
In their statement, German prosecutors allege that Assadi, who has been registered as a diplomat at the Iranian Embassy in Vienna since 2014, was a member of the Iranian intelligence service "Ministry of Intelligence and Security," whose tasks "primarily include the intensive observation and combatting of opposition groups inside and outside of Iran".
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has called the allegations of a foiled extremist plot a ploy.
Last week Iran summoned envoys from France, Germany and Belgium in protest over the arrest.
Belgian authorities also accuse Assadi of being part of the alleged plot reportedly aimed at setting off explosives at a huge annual rally of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq group, or MEK, in neighbouring France, and want him extradited.
German prosecutors said their investigation wouldn't hinder Belgium's extradition request for the suspect.