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Germany approves extradition of Iran diplomat over Paris bomb 'plot'

Demonstrators of Iranian opposition group PMOI (People's Mujahedin Organization) protest near the Iran's embassy in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018.
AP Photo/Christophe Ena

A German court on Monday approved the extradition to Belgium of an Iranian diplomat accused of involvement in a foiled bomb plot targeting a gathering of Iranian dissidents in a Paris suburb in June.

The superior regional court in Bamberg said in a statement that it had on September 27 approved the extradition of an Iranian diplomat based in Vienna who has been named as Assadollah Assadi.

"The wanted man cannot cite diplomatic immunity because he was on a several day holiday trip outside his host state Austria and not travelling between his host country and the state that dispatched him," the court said.

Six people were arrested in Belgium, France and Germany, plotting to target a gathering of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). The plot, which Israel's Mossad spy agency reportedly assisted European countries in foiling, was revealed after a husband and wife duo was caught in Brussels in possession of 500 grams of the powerful explosive TATP and a detonator.

The couple were identified as Amir S., 38, and Nasimeh N., 33. 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.

Separately, German police had swooped on Assadi. German prosecutors suspect that Assadi, believed to be an intelligence agent, ordered the couple to attack the rally and had handed them the explosives at a June meeting in Luxembourg.

Assadi was believed to be a member of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security, which is tasked with the "observation and fight against opposition groups inside and outside Iran", prosecutors' statement said.

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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