France announces asset freeze on Iranian intelligence service

France announced Tuesday that it had frozen assets belonging to two Iranian men and Iran's ministry of security and intelligence. The decree announcing the asset freezes, published in the government gazette, identified one of the men as Assadollah Asadi, the same name as an Iranian diplomat based in Vienna who has been arrested over an alleged plot to bomb an Iranian opposition group in France in June.

The French move to freeze the Iranian intelligence service's assets comes a day after Germany approved Asadi's extradition to Belgium over his suspected involvement in the foiled plot to target a gathering of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in a north Paris suburb. Asadi, who is believed to be an intelligence agent, is suspected of ordering a husband and wife duo to attack the rally and providing them with explosives at a June meeting in Luxembourg.

The couple, identified as Amir S., 38, and Nasimeh N., 33, were caught in Brussels in possession of 500 grams of the powerful explosive TATP and a detonator. A suspected accomplice of the couple, identified as Merhad A. aged 54, was arrested at a hotel in Paris. All three are Belgian nationals of Iranian origin.

Tehran has dismissed the alleged bomb plot as a "sinister false flag ploy" designed to discredit Iran at a time when it faces major diplomatic tensions with the United States.

The rally in the Paris suburb of Villepinte was attended by several allies of US President Donald Trump, including former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and former House speaker Newt Gingrich, both of whom urged regime change in Iran.

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