France freezes Iran assets linked to foiled attack

By Hajer M'tiri

PARIS (AA) – France has frozen the assets of two Iranians thought to be members of Iran's security and intelligence establishment over a bomb plot near Paris this June, France announced on Tuesday.

France has taken "proportionate preventive measures in the form of the adoption of national freezing measures of the assets of Mr. Assadollah Asadi and Mr. Saeid Hashemi Moghadam, Iranian nationals, as well as of the Homeland Security of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence," said a joint statement by France's foreign, interior, and economy ministries.

Asadi is an Iranian diplomat accused of masterminding a plot against an Iranian opposition rally in Paris. He was arrested in Germany and will be extradited to Belgium, where he will face prosecution.

"An attempted attack in Villepinte was foiled on June 30. An incident of such gravity on our national territory could not go unpunished," said the statement, adding: "In taking this decision, France underlines its determination to fight against terrorism in all its forms, particularly on its own territory."

The announcement came after French police raided a Shia Islamic center in northern France and arrested 11 of its leaders as part of "counter-terrorism" measures.

French authorities also froze the financial assets of the center, which is headed by Yahia Gouasmi, who is known for his anti-Zionist views and links to Iran.

It is unclear if the raids are linked to the suspected bomb plot against an Iran opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), in Paris this June.